OBJECTIVE: To compare the effects of short-term dietary supplementation with tomato juice, vitamin E, and vitamin C on susceptibility of LDL to oxidation and circulating levels of C-reactive protein (C-RP) and cell adhesion molecules in patients with type 2 diabetes. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: There were 57 patients with well-controlled type 2 diabetes aged <75 years treated with placebo for 4 weeks and then randomized to receive tomato juice (500 ml/day), vitamin E (800 U/day), vitamin C (500 mg/day), or continued placebo treatment for 4 weeks. Susceptibility of LDL to oxidation (lag time) and plasma concentrations of lycopene, vitamin E, vitamin C, C-RP, vascular cell adhesion molecule 1, and intercellular adhesion molecule 1 were measured at the beginning of the study, after the placebo phase, and at the end of the study. RESULTS: Plasma lycopene levels increased nearly 3-fold (P = 0.001), and the lag time in isolated LDL oxidation by copper ions increased by 42% (P = 0.001) in patients during supplementation with tomato juice. The magnitude of this increase in lag time was comparable with the corresponding increase during supplementation with vitamin E (54%). Plasma C-RP levels decreased significantly (-49%, P = 0.004) in patients who received vitamin E. Circulating levels of cell adhesion molecules and plasma glucose did not change significantly during the study. CONCLUSIONS: This study indicates that consumption of commercial tomato juice increases plasma lycopene levels and the intrinsic resistance of LDL to oxidation almost as effectively as supplementation with a high dose of vitamin E, which also decreases plasma levels of C-RP, a risk factor for myocardial infarction, in patients with diabetes. These findings may be relevant to strategies aimed at reducing risk of myocardial infarction in patients with diabetes.

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