A narrative review on the potential of tomato and lycopene for the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias

Federica Ratto, Flaminia Franchini, Massimo Musicco, Giulia Caruso, Simona Gabriella Di Santo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Oxidative stress is a major factor in aging and is implicated in the pathogenesis of tumors, diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer Disease (AD). Bioactive constituents of tomato as polyphenols and carotenoids, among which lycopene (LYC) are effective in reducing markers of oxidative stress, and appear to have a protective modulator role on the pathogenetic mechanisms, cognitive symptoms and behavioral manifestations of these diseases in cell cultures and animal models. Epidemiological evidence indicates a consistent association between the intake of tomatoes and reduced cardiovascular and neoplastic risk. LYC deficiency is common in elders and AD patients and it is strongly predictive of mortality and poor cardiovascular (CV) outcomes. Dietary intake of tomatoes seems to be more effective than tomato/LYC supplementation. Limited evidence from human intervention trials suggests that increasing tomato intake, besides improving CV markers, enhances cognitive performances. In this narrative review, we analyze the existing evidence on the beneficial effects of tomatoes on AD-related processes or risk factors. Results support the development of promising nutritional strategies to increase the levels of tomato consumption for the prevention or treatment of AD and other dementias. Extensive well-structured research, however, is mandatory to confirm the neuroprotective effects of tomato/LYC in humans.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCritical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


  • Alzheimer disease
  • dietary intake
  • lycopene
  • oxidative stress
  • tomato

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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