Saturday, November 12, 2011

Adding red to your diet

We are always happy receiving nice e-mails from users. Here is a recent letter:

Dear Aurametrix,

I would like to share with you some interesting results that really surprised me, even though they're a little embarrassing. 

I've been using Aurametrix now about 2 months but mostly on days when I experience a symptom (2 entries for diarrhea).  So about 20 entries in all, including food, a few feeling good plus these symptoms:

Diarrhea, experienced 1 bout around 2:30 PM PDT on September 18, 2011 

Diarrhea, experienced 1 bout around 3:30 PM PDT on October 30, 2011

I did an analysis on the second day: Diarrhea relative to Feeling Good, 12 hours 
These are the results copied from the tool:

Based on your Aura entries, the following may be contributing to "Diarrhea" in a 12 hour timeframe:
  • Lycopene (when consumed more than 5.9 micrograms, up to 2650.6)
  • Orange or Yellow fruits and veggies (when consumed more than 0.1 foods, up to 1.0)
I looked up lycopene and it's a chemical in orange-colored fruits. It so happens that I ate mango one day and a raw papaya on the other day I experienced the symptoms. I think I will avoid these fruits in the future (I haven't had any since I learned about it from Aurametrix)

You can post this if you want since I think it's worthwhile to let other people know that the tool really works and I don't have symptoms.
Aurametrix User :)

Lycopene is a carotenoid, a pigment that gives fruits and vegetables a red color. It is found in some red, pink, orange and yellow fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes (especially skins), watermelons, grapefruits, apricots, papayas, and guavas.

Lycopene is an antioxidant, but in the human body it converts into lycopenoids with the help of carotenoid monooxygenase (CMO) enzymes. Lycopene metabolism depends on the person. It is more efficient in those with more active CMOs, higher testosteron and those not restricting dietary intake.

A number of studies have suggested that a higher intake of lycopene-containing foods decreases the risk of heart disease, prostate cancer, other cancers and infections, even cataracts and asthma. Lycopene is thought to prevent male infertility, osteoporosis, varicose veins and eye disease. Lycopene may also reduce or prevent the side effects of chemotherapy.

What are the potential side effects? In one Mayo Clinic study (Jatoi et al, 2007), the most common side effect for patients who took 15,000 micrograms of lycopene twice per day was diarrhea (41% of patients), followed by nausea (26%), abdominal distension (17%), and flatulence (4%).

The same effects were also observed by IBS sufferers - like this case of massive diarrhea from fresh tomato on a sandwich or this bad gut reaction to tomato sauce. Mangoes and Papayas are usually considered safe for IBS, yet occasional incidents are posted on the web.

So, should you limit your Lycopene intake if Aurametrix indicates it may cause your diarrhea? Take a note about it and keep analyzing your diet. Analyses that start from "Aura entries" examine food combinations and will tell you if there is something that negates the effect. Perhaps there was a day when you ate it and felt OK. You might not remember it, but Aurametrix will.


Jatoi A, Burch P, Hillman D, Vanyo JM, Dakhil S, Nikcevich D, Rowland K, Morton R, Flynn PJ, Young C, Tan W, & North Central Cancer Treatment Group (2007). A tomato-based, lycopene-containing intervention for androgen-independent prostate cancer: results of a Phase II study from the North Central Cancer Treatment Group. Urology, 69 (2), 289-94 PMID: 17320666.

Kelkel M, Schumacher M, Dicato M, Diederich M. (2011) Antioxidant and anti-proliferative properties of lycopene. Free Radic Res. 2011 Aug;45(8):925-40. Epub 2011 May 26.

Brian L. Lindshield, Kirstie Canene-Adams, John W. Erdman Jr (2007) Lycopenoids: Are lycopene metabolites bioactive? Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics. Volume 458, Issue 2, Pages 136-140.