Life Extension Magazine®

Lycopene The Smart Carotene

Smart phytoextracts, an improved Herbal Mix and a new "boosting" formula make their introductory appearance this month.

Scientifically reviewed by: Dr. Gary Gonzalez, MD, in August 2023. Written by: Life Extension Editorial Staff.


The Life Extension Foundation regularly profiles and evaluates important new products on the market, often making them available directly to you, as well as to Foundation members at a discount via the Life Extension Buyers Club.


Life Extension members were the first to learn about lycopene way back in 1985. Since then, improved tomato extraction methods have given consumers access to supplements that contain greater concentrations of lycopene than ever before!

In order to obtain maximal amounts of elemental lycopene, it should be taken in an oil-paste form. That's why the new Super Lycopene is packaged in a softgel cap that provides synergistic nutrients that have been shown to work with lycopene to protect against a wide range of diseases.

Compare our new Super Lycopene Extract to the commercial market, and you'll find that other companies offer microgram instead of milligram potencies of lycopene. We found one prominent supplement maker promoting lycopene on the front of their label, but listing only 45 micrograms per capsule on their label. It would take a leap of faith to think that 45 micrograms of lycopene would provide the proven disease prevention benefits.

Lycopene was added to the Life Extension Mix formula in 1985. Soon after, lycopene was added to Life Extension Booster and Chloroplex. Those who consume all three of these products get 5 mg a day of lycopene, and that is about the best that can be offered in the highly expensive dry-powder form.

The new Super Lycopene Extract contains 10 mg of lycopene in tomato paste extract along with other important disease preventing carotenoids. It is impossible to state what the ideal dose of lycopene for prevention is because of too many confounding factors in the published studies. However, the Foundation recommends one to three capsules a day of Super Lycopene Extract, depending on what other lycopene-containing supplements and foods are consumed. Taking lycopene with supplements such as perilla, fish, CLA oils and/or meals containing fats dramatically increases assimilation into the bloodstream.

There is a cost benefit as well. When compared to lower potency capsules that only come in 60 capsule bottles, Super Lycopene Extract offers a much more cost-effective product than those marketed by commercial supplement companies.

Caution: Those taking Super Lycopene Extract should probably also take at least 400 IU of vitamin E a day to protect the carotenes from oxidizing in the body.

Keep the Nutrients

High vegetable intake is associated with a decreased risk for various human cancers. The first study that woke up the public about the importance of vegetables was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (1985, 41 (1) p32-6). This study showed that the increased intake of green and yellow vegetables reduced cancer incidence by 70% compared to low vegetable intake in a group of 1271 Massachusetts residents. This large human study confirmed numerous previous studies showing that vegetables reduced cancer risk.

Scientific studies show that the consumption of broccoli dramatically lowers cancer incidence. The specific component in broccoli that has been shown to protect against cancer is called sulphoraphane. A study conducted at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine revealed that mature broccoli contained very little sulphoraphane while broccoli sprouts contained it in abundance. The Johns Hopkins scientists showed that sulphoraphane from 3-day-old broccoli sprouts were highly effective in reducing the incidence, multiplicity, and rate of development of mammary tumors in rats. The scientists concluded that small quantities of broccoli sprouts may protect against the risk of cancer as effectively as much larger quantities of mature vegetables of the same variety (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Sept 16, 1997, 94 (19) p10367-72).

As the media continues to report on the health benefits of broccoli, more potent broccoli extracts are becoming available as supplements. The new Chloroplex formula contains an extract that provides an astounding 0.5% of sulphoraphane. This is more than twice the level of sulphoraphane that was available in previous broccoli extracts.

Few people eat enough broccoli to significantly reduce their risk of cancer, yet there is now reason to believe that phyto-extract supplements can provide more disease preventing nutrients to the body than the vegetables themselves. The reason for this is simple: the high fiber content of vegetables prevents many of the important nutrients from being absorbed. The result is that a lot of the cruciferous vegetables that are eaten, such as broccoli, pass through the digestive tract without being broken down, thus depriving the body of important cancer-preventing nutrients such as sulphoraphane. This is one reason why "juicing" vegetables, which removes the fiber, is such a healthy way of consuming phyto-nutrients. Most people lack the time to juice the vegetables they need every day, yet the new Chloroplex capsules provides standardized phyto-extracts in highly absorbable powdered form. The new Chloroplex contains an abundant array of carotenoids and other plant extracts that have been shown to significantly reduce the risk of cancer, macular degeneration, and heart disease. Please note that to obtain high potencies of lycopene, it requires an oil-based extract. Therefore, Chloroplex provides a relatively small amount of lycopene compared to the new oil-based Super Lycopene and Life Extension Booster softgel caps. The most potent components in Chloroplex are the sulphoraphane, chlorophyllin and lutein extracts. Ten milligrams of zinc oxide is included in Chloroplex for the specific purpose of inhibiting the absorption of copper from the pure copper chlorophyllins. Chlorophyll is a potent anti-mutagenic agent, and its only drawback is that it contains a small amount of copper that some people might not need. Zinc specifically blocks copper absorption, thus enabling more chlorophyll to be consumed without risking too much copper being absorbed.

Depending on your vegetable intake, the suggested dose of new Chloroplex is one to three capsules a day. It is especially recommended that Chloroplex be taken when other carcinogenic foods are also eaten such as charbroiled meat, nitrosamine- preserved meat, aflatoxin-contaminated corn/ peanut products, fried foods, and pesticide/herbicide ladened produce and meat.