Ingredient review



What is it?

Lycopene is a non-provitamin A carotenoid that is responsible for the red and pink coloration of certain fruits, such as tomatoes, pink grapefruit, watermelon, papaya, and guava. Lycopene derived from tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) sources has been most widely studied and accounts for significant portions of its dietary intake. (23) Lycopene is most commonly recognized as an antioxidant with roles in preventing oxidative stress across a wide variety of conditions. (6)(34)

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Main uses

Anti-oxidant applications
Cardiometabolic disorders
Infertility and prostatic disorders


Lactolycopene (e.g., Ateronon ® - contains 6% lycopene as Lyc-o-mato ® within whey protein matrix) (24)
Equal increase in bioavailability to tomato paste (24)
Lyc-o-mato® (e.g., Lycored - contains lycopene (6%), β-carotene (0.15%), phytoene and phytofluene (1%) and vitamin E (2%), phospholipids (15%), and phytosterol (0.6%) in oleoresin oil (22)
Equal increase in bioavailability to synthetic lycopene (Lycovit ®) (12)
Equal increase in plasma lycopene between tomato oleoresin, synthetic beadlets, and tomato juice, (21) but higher than raw tomato (2)
Lycovit® (10% water-soluble, synthetic beadlets) (12)(30)
Equal bioavailability of synthetic lycopene to tomato-based lycopene (Lyc-o-mato®) (12)
Redivivo® (10% w/w water soluble beadlet. Composed of synthetic crystalline lycopene (all-trans)) (8)
Doses of 6.5 mg, 15 mg & 30 mg were more bioavailable compared to baseline after 2 months of supplementation (8)

Dosing & administration

Adverse effects

The observed level of safety for lycopene has been described at 75mg per day, though higher concentrations have been ingested without adverse effects. (27) Doses of lycopene as high as 120 mg per day have been ingested without adverse effects in healthy subjects, (9) and have been shown to be safe at this dose after a year of consumption. (7) Rare instances of allergic skin reactions have been reported. (8)



  • Approximately 10-30% of lycopene is absorbed after oral intake. (6)
  • Absorption occurs via passive diffusion in the intestine and by the scavenger receptor class B type I (SR-BI) cholesterol membrane transporter. (17)(31)
  • Uptake is saturable, with less than 6 mg typically absorbed regardless of doses ranging from 10-120mg. (9)


  • The SR-BI cholesterol membrane transporter is also located in the liver, adrenals, ovaries, placenta, kidneys, prostate, and brain. (33)
  • Highest concentrations are distributed to the testes, and then sequentially to the adrenals, liver, prostate, breast, pancreas, skin, colon, ovaries, lungs, stomach, kidney, adipose tissues, and cervix, thereafter. (6)


  • Lycopene appears to be metabolized by β-carotene 9′,10′-oxygenase (BCO2). (33)
  • Lycopene may also be metabolized to CO2 via B-oxidation. (25)


  • Apo-10′-lycopenoic acid or the reduced to apo-10′-lycopene metabolites are excreted in the urine. (25)
  • Lycopene has a half-life of two to three days. (29)