London: UK scientists have created a natural supplement made from tomatoes, which they claim when taken daily, prevents heart disease and strokes.
The tomato pill, branded Ateronon, contains lycopene – an antioxidant that blocks “bad” (LDL) cholesterol that chokes the cardiovascular system.
The new lycopene pill is made by a biotechnology spin-out company within Cambridge University, and will eventually go on sale to consumers.
Although research is on-going early trials involving on150 people with heart disease indicate that Ateronon can reduce the oxidation of harmful fats in the blood to almost zero within eight weeks, a meeting of the British Cardiovascular Society will be told at Ateronon’s launch next week.
Neuroscientist Peter Kirkpatrick, who will lead a further research project at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge on behalf of Cambridge Theranostics Ltd, said the supplement could be much more effective than statin drugs that are currently used by doctors to treat high cholesterol.
Lycopene is already well-known as a powerful antioxidant which is found in the skin of tomatoes which gives them their red colour. But lycopene ingested in its natural form is poorly absorbed.
Ateronon contains a refined, more readily absorbed version of lycopene that was originally developed by Nestle.