Tomato Compound May Fight Vascular Disease

January 7, 2011

Japanese researchers target a tomato compound that appears to regulates lipids.

Tomato consumption is already linked to a variety of health benefits, but new research published in the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research could give tomato added recognition for fighting vascular diseases.

A team of researchers, led by Teruo Kawada of Kyoto University, determined that a tomato compound called 9-oxo-octadecadienoic can work against dyslipidemia, a condition of elevated blood lipids like cholesterol and fat.

While dyslipidemia typically does not cause any direct health symptoms, it can lead to a number of vascular diseases, including arteriosclerosis and cirrhosis, said Kawada. He noted that maintaining healthy lipid levels is needed to prevent such diseases.

9-oxo-octadecadienoic appears to do just that. The compound was observed as having resulted in enhanced fatty acid oxidation, ultimately contributing to better regulated lipid metabolism in mouse liver cells.

“Finding a compound which helps the prevention of obesity-related chronic diseases in foodstuffs is a great advantage to tackling these diseases," said Kawada. “It means that the tomato allows people to easily manage the onset of dyslipidemia through their daily diet.”

Kawada’s research was supported by the research and development program of New Bio-industry Initiatives (Japan). The full study can be accessed here.