Serum Lycopene Inversely Linked to Risk of Stroke in Men

Significantly lower risk of any stroke, ischemic stroke for men in highest versus lowest quartile

MONDAY, Oct. 8 (HealthDay News) -- High serum concentrations of lycopene correlate with a significantly reduced risk of stroke in men, according to a study published in the Oct. 9 issue of Neurology.

Jouni Karppi, Ph.D., from the Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition at the University of Eastern Finland in Kuopio, and colleagues conducted a prospective study involving 1,031 Finnish men, aged 46 to 65 years, to examine whether serum concentrations of major carotenoids, α-tocopherol, and retinol correlated with the risk of any stroke and ischemic stroke.

During a median follow-up of 12.1 years, 67 strokes occurred, including 50 ischemic strokes. After adjustment for confounding variables, the researchers found that, compared with men in the lowest quartile, men in the highest quartile of serum lycopene concentrations had significantly lower risks of ischemic stroke (hazard ratio, 0.41) and any stroke (hazard ratio, 0.45). There was no association with stroke seen for α-carotene, β-carotene, α-tocopherol, and retinol.

"Results of the present study show that high serum concentrations of lycopene, as a marker of intake of tomatoes and tomato-based products, decrease the risk of any stroke and ischemic stroke in men," the authors write. "Thus, a balanced diet including fruits and vegetables may prevent stroke."

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