Organic Lycopene - What is it ?


Organic lycopene differs from both synthetic and natural lycopene in terms of quality and production technology, which is highly innovative and clean.

Organic lycopene has the following characteristics:

  • is 100% natural and organic ICEA certified
  • absence of toxicity
  • improved natural bioavailability
  • improved antioxidant and anticancer activity


Organic lycopene is extracted by supercritical carbon dioxide (SC-CO2) from red-ripe tomato matrices (not skins or other derived wastes). The extract is composed by a mixture of natural compounds, including, in addition to lycopene, antioxidants, vitamins, amino acids and other compounds that are very important for human health.

These liposoluble compounds that are extracted with lycopene are the following: carotenoids ( b -carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin), vitamins (A, E, D, K), essential amino acids (alanine, leucine, trypthofan), polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6), phospholipids.

Organic lycopene is obtained by extraction with supercritical carbon dioxide (SC-CO2) from organic certified red-ripe tomatoes. This process does not involve the use of chemical solvents, so the finished product is solvent-free, 100% natural and organic certified ICEA. 


Organic lycopene is obtained from organic red-ripe tomatoes certified ICEA. Tomatoes are pesticides-free, dioxins-free, heavy metals-free, OGM-free.

Organic lycopene is obtained by a cold extraction process based on an exclusively physic principle that does not involve any chemical reaction.

Because this procedure does not involve the use of toxic chemical solvents, the finished product is:

  • solvent-free (both in crystal structure and on the surface)
  • toxic reaction by-products-free (oxidation and other reaction intermediates)
  • toxic impurity-free (industrial solvents are not pure and may contain very toxic impurities)

Organic lycopene is the unique lycopene 100% natural without any form of toxicity.


In a nutritional supplement, lycopene bioavailability value is usually different from lycopene content. Bioavailability is an important parameter for a nutritional supplement, as it is an evaluation tool of its efficacy and action. Bioavailability is used to describe the quantity of lycopene (or any drug) that reaches the systemic circulation and is available at the site of action. The exceeding molecules are removed from the body.

Lycopene bioavailability depends on different factors:

  • lycopene molecular structure, such as physical state, crystal dimensions, isomeric configurations
  • physical and chemical properties of the lycopene mixture, such as lipid content, β-carotene content, uniformity of the extract, lycopene dosage

Lycopene Molecular structure: physical state

Lycopene bioavailability is highly influenced by the crystalline state.

Synthetic lycopene has a purity of 90-95%, it is in the form of large and regular crystals obtained after crystallization from a solution in chemical solvents and with low impurities content. Natural lycopene is obtained after crystallization from a solution in chemical solvents and with higher impurities content that is englobed in the crystal structure. The final lycopene has a purity of approximately 50-60% and it is in the form of small, dirty and not very regular crystals. Organic lycopene is present in the extract as a viscose solution in lipids which are co-extracted with it and it is not in a crystalline and/or amorphous state like synthetic and natural lycopene.

The lycopene absorption and passage into the systemic circulation depends on crystal stability, organic lycopene being already in solution is promptly absorbed and available. Organic lycopene represents the best form for its assimilation because is fundamentally not present in a crystalline state.

Lycopene molecular structure: crystals dimension

Lycopene bioavailability depends on the dimension of crystals. Recent studies demonstrated that smaller crystals are more easily dissolved in the human body and hence absorbed more rapidly than larger ones (500 nm crystals are 30% more absorbed than 5 mm ones).

Lycopene molecular structure: isomeric configuration

In nature, lycopene trans -form is more abundant (>90%) than cis -form, but in human tissues this ratio is the opposite (cis -isomer is > 60%).  The cis -form is, in fact, more bioavailable due to a reduced ability to form large crystals with respect to the trans -form . The isomerization from trans - cis could take place during the extraction process or during digestive processes. The two isomeric forms have the same biological activity, but cis -form is more absorbed in human tissues than the trans -one. A higher cis/trans ratio is strictly connected to a higher bioavailability. Organic lycopene has a cis / trans ratio 10-20-fold higher than the ones of synthetic and natural lycopene.

Physical and chemical properties of the lycopene mixture: lipid content    

Carotenoids are absorbed by the human digestive system with the same emulsification mechanism that allows lipid assimilation. That is why lycopene-based supplements contain a high quantity of lipids. Since lipids are important for the extraction of carotenoids from food and for the production of micelles/emulsions through which carotenoids are absorbed by enterocytes and so transferred to tissues.

Carotenoids are passively absorbed with lipids.

Their absorption depends also on their prompt release from food. The presence of oils or fats accelerates this process promoting the solubilisation of the carotenoid crystals enclosed in foods. Since lipids improve carotenoid absorption at the intestinal level, lycopene containing nutritional supplements include high percentages of vegetable oils. Moreover the absence.

Synthetic and natural lycopene can be used in nutritional supplements only diluted with vegetable oils, as high concentration and purity are strictly connected to very low chemical stability and bioavailability. Lycopene is diluted and stabilized by adding vegetable oils, preservatives and other additives. The final concentration of lycopene in nutritional supplements could be in a very large range, from 0,1% up to 10%.

Organic lycopene could be used itself as nutritional supplement because it has a high natural bioavailability. Organic lycopene does not need any form of dilution or solubilisation with external oils to enhance the absorption of lipids, as it happens for synthetic or natural lycopene, because lipids come directly from the co-extracted vegetable oil.

The extraction process by supercritical carbon dioxide (SC-CO2) allows to obtain an extract, in which lycopene is uniformly solubilised in the co-extracted vegetable oil. In fact, this procedure avoids also the formation of large and stable lycopene crystals with great advantage for lycopene bioavailability.

Physical and chemical properties of the lycopene mixture: β-carotene content   

Organic lycopene contains also several carotenoids extracted from tomatoes, such as b-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, astaxanthin, phytofluene.

Recent studies have demonstrated that lycopene bioavailability is enhanced by the presence of b-carotene.

Physical and chemical properties of the lycopene mixture: concentration uniformity of the extract.

The organic lycopene extract is characterized by an elevated concentration uniformity of lycopene.

The absence of lycopene homogeneity in the lipids mixture or the presence of large and stable crystals could reduce lycopene absorption and consequently the efficacy of the product.

As lycopene can be in crystalline and/or partially amorphous state, natural or synthetic-based supplement can have products areas where the active principles is more concentrated and this non homogeneous state reduces absorption efficiency.

Physical and chemical properties of the lycopene mixture: lycopene dosage

Lycopene bioavailability is not directly proportional to its content in the nutritional supplement. 

For commercial reasons, synthetic or natural lycopene-based supplements may have a higher-than-needed lycopene dosage. This fact can be negative. In fact, a higher concentration of lycopene in the final product can reduce the efficiency of the absorption process and its antioxidant activity instead of increasing them.

Lycopene suggested dosage is different in several countries, but average daily dose is 2.5 mg/die, even if recent studies suggest 7.0 mg/die.

Organic lycopene in the supplement has a dosage of 4.5 mg/capsule.


The extraction process, by supercritical carbon dioxide (SC-CO2) or by chemical solvents, is not selective, as it gives:


Other compounds

The “other compounds” are very important for health and include: antioxidants such as vitamin E, carotenoids (b-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, astaxanthin, etc.), polyphenols, vitamin K, essential amino acids (alanine, leucine, tryptophan), polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6), phospholipids and other compounds.

Natural lycopene is obtained by a process that leads up to high percentages of impurities and extraction chemical solvents. This product needs further purification steps, in order to reduce the toxicity of the final product, but the purification involve also the loss of other important antioxidants, present in the raw materials.

Organic lycopene has a high antioxidant activity. It is a mixture of lycopene and other compounds that work in synergy to give a stronger and more effective antioxidant action.

Tomatoes contain higher antioxidant compounds than lycopene, so their antioxidant activity is very important. Recent studies demonstrate that, on equal concentrations, a solution of organic lycopene exhibits an antioxidant and anticancer activity at least 100-fold higher than that of a solution of pure lycopene (synthetic or natural).

This is confirmed by FDA studies that underlined that, although a regular consumption of fresh tomatoes (or tomato derivatives) may reduce the incidence of cancers and neurodegenerative diseases, the same preventive effects were not evidenced by supplying dietary supplements containing pure lycopene. This suggests that the optimal biological activity of lycopene is reached only in the presence of other natural molecules contained in the tomatoes which may act synergistically.

Summary table of synthetic, natural and organic lycopene characteristics