UK: Tomato compound used to help stave off heart disease
Posted: June 1st, 2009 - 3:10pm
The new product, which is being launched at the British Cardiovasular Society Conference in London today, is based on lycopene.
Lycopene is known to be a powerful antioxidant, blocking the breakdown of fats in the blood, which lead to the damaging cholesterol and the build-up of fatal atherosclerotic deposits in arteries.
Hundreds of research projects round the world have investigated this mechanism and looked for ways to replicate it. Until now it has been impossible to produce a formula which allows lycopene to be reliably absorbed by the human body.
Now a team at Cambridge Theranostics Ltd (CTL), one of the university's many biotechnology spin-off companies, have refined a lycopene complex originally developed by Nestle to produce Ateronon.
More than a dozen preliminary trials involving around 150 people with heart disease indicate that Ateronon can reduce the oxidation of harmful fats in the blood to almost zero within as little as eight weeks.
Since Ateronon, is made entirely from elements of natural food, it has circumvented the drug regulatory process. It is being launched in June through the company's website and in high street pharmacies as a dietary supplement.