Tomato
Tomato

Background

Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) is a commonly eaten fruit that grows on a vine. It contains many nutrients, including an antioxidant called lycopene.

The lycopene in tomato is thought to play a role in preventing cancer. It's easier for the body to use lycopene that comes from tomato products, such as tomato paste or tomato juice, than from fresh tomatoes.

People use tomato for cancer prevention, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, osteoarthritis, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

Don't confuse tomato with lycopene, the antioxidant found in tomatoes.
When taken by mouth: Tomatoes are commonly consumed in foods. A specific tomato extract (Lyc-O-Mato) is possibly safe when used for up to eight weeks. But large amounts of tomato leaf or green tomatoes are possibly unsafe. In large amounts, tomato leaves or green tomatoes can cause poisoning, potentially leading to serious side effects and death.

There isn't enough reliable information to know if tomato vine is safe or what the side effects might be.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Tomato fruit is commonly consumed in foods while pregnant and breast-feeding. But there isn't enough reliable information to know if tomato extract is safe or what the side effects might be. Stay on the safe side and stick to food amounts.

Effectiveness

NatMed Pro rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
Likely effective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly effective Effectiveness definitions
Likely ineffective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly ineffective Effectiveness definitions
  • Bladder cancer. Eating more tomato products does not seem to decrease the risk of bladder cancer.
  • Breast cancer. Eating more tomato products does not seem to decrease the risk of breast cancer.
  • Diabetes. Eating more tomato products does not seem to decrease the risk of diabetes. It also doesn't seem to reduce blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
There is interest in using tomato for a number of other purposes, but there isn't enough reliable information to say whether it might be helpful.
Insufficient evidence Effectiveness definitions

Dosing & administration

The tomato fruit is commonly consumed in foods.

As medicine, tomato extracts have most often been used based on their lycopene content. Typical doses for adults are 15-30 mg of lycopene by mouth daily for up to 8 weeks. Speak with a healthcare provider to find out what dose might be best for a specific condition.

Interactions with pharmaceuticals

It is not known if Tomato interacts with any medicines. Before taking Tomato, talk with your healthcare professional if you take any medications.

Interactions with herbs & supplements

Beta-carotene: Taking beta-carotene while consuming tomatoes might change the amount of a certain nutrient, called lycopene, that is absorbed into the body.
Calcium: Taking calcium supplements with tomato paste can decrease the amount of a certain nutrient, called lycopene, that is absorbed into the body.
Lutein: Taking lutein while consuming tomatoes can decrease the amount of a certain nutrient, called lycopene, that is absorbed into the body.

Interactions with foods

There are no known interactions with foods.
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This monograph was last reviewed on 07/12/2023 11:00:00 and last updated on 06/07/2020 21:12:30. Monographs are reviewed and/or updated multiple times per month and at least once per year.
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