Side Effects of Lycopene

Lycopene is responsible for the red color of tomatoes.
Lycopene is responsible for the red color of tomatoes. (Image: ivanmollov/iStock/Getty Images)

You’ll find lycopene in tomatoes, apricots, watermelon, papaya and other red-orange produce. As a naturally occurring carotenoid element, lycopene can neutralize free radicals that attach themselves to healthy cells, leading to destruction. It’s because of antioxidants like lycopene that your risk of developing long-term ailments could go down. However, despite lycopene’s benefits, it does have a few potential side effects.

Potential Worries

Too much lycopene in your system could result in minor gastrointestinal problems such as gas, bloating, nausea, diarrhea or vomiting. It's also possible for lycopene to cause problems with platelet functions in your blood, resulting in issues with clotting. Lycopene can interact poorly with some chemotherapy drugs and antibiotics. It isn’t clear how much lycopene is safe during pregnancy or while breast-feeding. While the amount you’ll get from your diet is likely safe, taking a separate lycopene supplement is something you’ll want to discuss with your doctor beforehand.

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