Tomatoes versus vascular disease

The humble tomato contains a nutrient that could prevent the onset of vascular disease, scientists in Japan have discovered.

The research, published in the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, reveals that an extracted compound, 9-oxo-octadecadienoic, has anti-dyslipidemic effects.

The team led by Dr. Teruo Kawada from Kyoto University and supported by the Research and Development Programme for New Bio-industry Initiatives, Japan, focused their research on extracts which tackle dyslipidemia, a condition caused by an abnormal amount of lipids, such as cholesterol or fat, in the blood stream.

“Dyslipidemia itself usually causes no symptoms,” said Dr. Kawada, “however, it can lead to symptomatic vascular diseases, such as arteriosclerosis and cirrhosis. In order to prevent these diseases, it is important to prevent an increased build up of lipids.”

Vascular diseases range from diseases of the arteries, veins, and lymph vessels to blood disorders that affect circulation.

Tomatoes are already known to contain many compounds beneficial to health. In this study, the team analysed 9-oxo-octadecadienoic acid to test its potential anti-dyslipidemia properties.

The compound was found to enhance fatty acid oxidation and contributed to the regulation of hepatic lipid metabolism. The findings suggest that 9-oxo-octadecadienoic acid has anti-dyslipidemia effects and can therefore help prevent vascular diseases.

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