An antioxidant molecule inhibits the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that transfers electrons or hydrogen from a substance to an oxidizing agent. Oxidation reactions can produce free radicle, which can start chain reactions. When this reaction occurs in cell, it can cause damage or death to the cell. Antioxidants terminate these chain reactions by removing free radical intermediates, and inhibit other oxidation reactions. They do this by being oxidized themselves, so antioxidants are often reducing agents. The antioxidant effect include a considerable reactive oxygen species scavenging activity, which allows lycopene to prevent lipid per oxidation and DNA damage. It also induces enzymes of the cellular antioxidant defense systems by activating the antioxidant response element transcription system. The tetra terpene structure of lycopene with two unconjugated bonds is easily attacked by electrophilic reagents resulting in extreme poverty reactivity towards oxygen and free radicals. Lycopene is a bright red carotene and carotenoids pigment found in tomatoes, carrots, watermelons, papayas and other red fruits and vegetables. It reduces the risk of cancers of many organs, retards growth of tumors and also has a chemopreventive effect against diseases like cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, male infertility, protection against damage caused by ionizing radiation and reduces negative effect on cancer radiotherapy.
Cite this article:
Sahana. K. Lycopene as an antioxidant and its medicinal uses. Research J. Pharm. and Tech. 8(8): August, 2015; Page 1043-1047. doi: 10.5958/0974-360X.2015.00178.X