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Tomato pill that cleans arteries

Metro

A new health pill based on tomatoes could 'save lives on a global basis' by drastically unclogging the fat from arteries, scientists say.

ATERONON™, launched today in Britain, is said to offer the benefits of a Mediterranean diet, which is known to prevent heart disease and strokes.

The supplement, which uses lycopene, a chemical found in the skin of ripe tomatoes, has been shown to wipe out nearly all harmful fats in the blood within eight weeks. Now, it is being clinically tested to see if it can even reverse heart disease as well as preventing it.

TV doctor Rob Hicks predicted it could 'potentially extend life and also possibly save lives on a global basis'.

Lycopene has long been known as a powerful anti-oxidant which controls cholesterol by stopping fats breaking up in the blood. Ateronon, which will cost £35 a month when it goes on sale this month, is being hailed as a breakthrough because, unlike the natural form, it is easy to absorb.

Each pill is the equivalent of eating three kilos of ripe tomatoes a day.

It has been developed by Cambridge University spin-off Cambridge Theranostics Ltd and will be launched today at a medical conference in London.

CTL's chief executive Gunter Schmidt said: 'We are anxious that its capabilities are taken seriously by doctors and it is not dismissed as just another food supplement.'

A year-long trial to see if it can rev­erse the effects of heart disease in 200 patients will begin shortly at Harvard.

A British study will also look at its use for brain haemorrhage patient.

But the British Tomato Growers Association, warned: 'There's far more evidence for the benefits of nutrient-rich natural food than there is for any dietary supplement.'

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