Osteoporosis is a metabolic disease of the skeleton that leads to a decrease in bone mass and bone quality, exposing the individual to an increased risk of fractures. Bone is a dynamic tissue that is continuously renewed through a process that combines the action of osteoclasts, which are responsible for the removal of old tissue, and that of osteoblasts which, on the contrary, are responsible for the production of new bone tissue. Osteoporosis is caused by an incorrect functioning of this natural process of bone remodelling. In particular, bone resorption is not adequately balanced by the formation of new bone tissue.
Among the main causes of the onset of osteoporosis are, the menopause in women, low calcium intake, the intake of certain medications but also oxidative stress.
Oxidative Stress and Osteoporosis
Epidemiological studies have in fact shown how the level of severity of osteoporosis is linked to a high level of oxidative stress and how, in women with osteoporosis, the body's antioxidant defences are reduced. Oxidative stress mainly affects osteoclasts with consequent production of free radicals and acceleration of bone reabsorption mechanisms.
Lycopene, thanks to its well-known antioxidant properties, acts by inhibiting both the formation of osteoclasts and the production of excess free radicals, thus helping to reduce the process of bone resorption. At the same time it promotes cell proliferation in osteoblasts, which as we have seen are responsible for the production of new bone tissue.
In particular, it has been shown that in postmenopausal women lycopene supplementation increases the plasma concentration of lycopene and simultaneously significantly reduces markers of bone resorption.
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- Rao LG, Krishnadev N, Banasikowska K, Rao AV. Lycopene I – Effect on osteoclasts: lycopene inhibits basal and parathyroid hormone-stimulated osteoclast formation and mineral resorption mediated by reactive oxygen species in rat bone marrow cultures. J Med Food 2003; 6:69-78.
- Yang Z, Zhang Z, Penniston KL, et al. Serum carotenoid concentrations in postmenopausal wo-men from the United States with and without osteoporosis. Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2008; 78:105-11.
- Pisano G., Lycopene and bone health: prevention of osteoporosis from tomatoes. Nutrition4Health, Volume 4, N.1, 2019
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