Lycopene (1989, 2018, 2019) & Cognitive Neuroprotection


Lycopene, a carotenoid, has demonstrated greater singlet oxygen quenching abilities (fights free radicals) compared with the other carotenoids, such as beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.1 Lycopene has been shown to exhibit neuroprotective effects by reducing oxidative stress, suppressing production of inflammatory cytokines, and reducing accumulation of amyloid plaques.2, 3

Lycopene has been shown to attenuate cognitive deficits by improving inflammation in the gut-liver-brain axis as well improving glycolipid metabolism,4 the mechanisms by which lycopene provides neurocognitive protection as well as inhibition of neuronal apoptosis and restoration of mitochondrial function.5 Glycolipids help to maintain cell membrane stability and connectivity to other cells. Mitchondria are the parts of the cell that produce energy for the cell.

However a review of the literature reports that the evidence is inconclusive: there are positive relationships between lycopene levels and maintained cognition, but weak relationships between low lycopene levels and death from Alzheimer's.6


1. Di Mascio P, Kaiser S, Sies H. (1989). Lycopene as the most efficient biological carotenoid singlet oxygen quencher. Arch Biochem Biophys. Nov 1; 274(2):532-8.
2. Wang J, Li L, Wang Z, Cui Y, Tan X, et al. (2018). Supplementation of lycopene attenuates lipopolysaccharide-induced amyloidogenesis and cognitive impairments via mediating neuroinflammation and oxidative stress. J Nutr Biochem. Jun; 56():16-25.
3. Liu CB, Wang R, Yi YF, Gao Z, Chen YZ. (2018). Lycopene mitigates B-amyloid induced inflammatory response and inhibits NF-kB signaling at the choroid plexus in early stages of Alzheimer's disease rats. J Nutr Biochem. Mar;53-66-71.
4. Lycopene attenuates western-diet-induced cognitive deficits via improving glycolipid metabolism dysfunction and inflammatory responses in gut-liver-brain axis. Wang J, Wang Z, Li B, Qiang Y, Yuan T, Tan X, Wang Z, Liu Z, Liu X Int J Obes (Lond). 2019 Sep; 43(9):1735-1746.
5. Chen D, Huang C, Chen Z. (2019). A review for the pharmacological effect of lycopene in central nervous system disorders. Biomed Pharmacother. Mar; 111():791-801. 6. Crowe-White KM, Phillips TA, Ellis AC. (2019). Lycopene and cognitive function. J Nutr Sci. May 29;8:3=e20.