British Journal of Nutrition

Full Papers

Human and Clinical Nutrition

Tomato juice consumption reduces systemic inflammation in overweight and obese females

Mahsa Ghavipoura1, Ahmad Saedisomeoliaa1 c1, Mahmoud Djalalia1, Giti Sotoudeha1, Mohammad Reza Eshraghyana2, Ali Malekshahi Moghadama3 and Lisa G. Wooda4

a1 Department of Nutrition and Biochemistry, School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

a2 Department of Epidemiology and Statistics, School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

a3 Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

a4 School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia


Tomatoes are the richest source of lycopene, a potent antioxidant. Tomato products improve antioxidant defences and reduce the risk of inflammatory diseases, at least partly, due to the presence of lycopene. Lycopene, as an anti-inflammatory agent, prevents the production of inflammatory cytokines. Obesity is a chronic inflammatory condition in which the increased level of body fat leads to an increase in circulating inflammatory mediators. We hypothesised that the consumption of a lycopene-rich food would reduce inflammation in people who are overweight or obese. A total of 106 overweight or obese female students of the Tehran University of Medical Sciences were enrolled and randomly allocated to an intervention group (n 53) or a control group (n 53) consuming 330 ml/d of tomato juice or water, respectively, for 20 d. At baseline and day 20, serum concentrations of IL-6, IL-8, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein and TNF-α were analysed by ELISA and compared between the groups. Serum concentrations of IL-8 and TNF-α decreased significantly in the intervention group compared with the control group and with baseline. Subgroup analysis indicated that this effect was confined to subjects who were overweight. Among obese subjects, serum IL-6 concentration was decreased in the intervention group compared with the control group, with no differences in IL-8 and TNF-α observed. Tomato juice reduces inflammation in overweight and obese females. Thus, increasing tomato intake may provide a useful approach for reducing the risk of inflammatory diseases such as CVD and diabetes, which are associated with obesity.

(Received January 20 2012)

(Revised June 08 2012)

(Accepted August 09 2012)

(Online publication October 15 2012)

Key Words:

  • Tomato juice;
  • Carotenoids;
  • Lycopene;
  • Inflammatory biomarkers;
  • Obesity


c1 Corresponding author: A. Saedisomeolia, email


  Abbreviations: CRP, C-reactive protein