Want a Healthy Heart? Ever Considered Tomato Pills?

No one would enjoy eating 6 pounds of tomatoes a day.

But if their goodness was compressed into an easy-to-swallow pill that you were told might prevent strokes and heart attacks, you would probably be putting in an order tomorrow.

Researchers believe they may have come up with just that after trials on the supplement Ateronon.

The daily pill contains a chemical called lycopene which gives tomatoes its red color and breaks down fatty deposits in the arteries.

A Cambridge University study found taking the capsule boosted blood flow and improved the lining of vessels in patients with pre-existing heart conditions. It also increased the flexibility of their arteries by 50 percent.

The scientists believe it could limit the damage caused by heart disease – responsible for 180,000 deaths a year – and help cut the 49,000 annual deaths from strokes.

They also hope it could benefit people who suffer with arthritis and diabetes, and even slow the progress of cancer.

Each pill provides the equivalent of eating around 6 pounds of ripe tomatoes.

Studies have shown eating a Mediterranean-style diet rich in tomatoes, fish, vegetables, nuts and olive oil can significantly reduce cholesterol and help prevent cardiovascular disease.

Preliminary results from a two-month trial, in which the pills were given to 36 heart disease patients and 36 healthy volunteers of an average age of 67, were presented at a meeting of the American Heart Association.

It was shown to improve the function of the endothelium – the layer of cells lining blood vessels. It also boosted their sensitivity to nitric oxide, the gas that triggers the dilation of the arteries in response to exercise.

Ian Wilkinson of Cambridge University’s clinical trials unit, said: ‘These results are potentially very significant, but we need more trials to see if they translate into fewer heart attacks and strokes.’

Peter Kirkpatrick, a leading neurosurgeon and medical adviser to CamNutra, which has developed Ateronon, said: “It is too early to come to firm conclusions, but the results from this trial are far better than anything we could have hoped for.”

Further studies are planned, with researchers hoping it could offer an alternative to statins for heart disease sufferers who cannot take the cholesterol-lowering drugs.

Mike Knapton of the British Heart Foundation, said: “Although this showed lycopene improved blood flow in people with heart disease, that’s a long way from demonstrating that taking it could improve outcomes for people with heart disease.”

The best way to get the benefits of a Mediterranean diet is to eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables…

Read More: dailymail.co.uk

Back to top