All you need to know about Natural Lycopene

Introducing Lycopene

Lycopene molecule_ Sibelius LactoMato

Lycopene is a lipophilic carotenoid compound, found predominantly in tomatoes and other red fruits and vegetables, including watermelon, papaya and guava. Lately, lycopene has been extensively studied in numerous epidemiological, experimental and clinical trials for its potential beneficial effects on human health, displaying antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-proliferative and cardioprotective activities1. It’s also considered to be one of the most powerful antioxidants, being 10 times stronger than alpha-tocopherol and twice as potent as beta-carotene2. Since it is a lipophilic molecule, it helps prevent lipid peroxidation, as well as protects against DNA damage by inducing enzymes of the cellular antioxidant defence system3.

Lycopene bioavailability from fresh tomatoes is very low in humans, while thermal treatment and processing improve its absorption. Processed tomato-based products, such as tomato juice, paste, ketchup and soup, provide lycopene with enhanced bioavailability3. However, in order to benefit from the effects, these would need to be consumed in large amounts each day4. Natural lycopene supplement formulations present an easier and effective way to improve lycopene absorption and avoid the consumption of highly processed foods, which often contain a long list of unknown ingredients5.

Beneficial Effects

Lycopene has been shown to support different areas of human health:

  • Cardiovascular Health
    Lycopene has been widely studied for its cardiovascular activities, indicating improvements to endothelial and metabolic function, as well as blood pressure control 3, 6-8
  • Prostate Health
    Increased lycopene intake has been widely investigated in several epidemiological and clinical trials, showing to support prostate health by reducing oxidative DNA damage and inducing specific enzymes that protect against exogenous toxins9, 10
  • Male Fertility Health
    Lycopene supplementation has been reported to decrease lipid peroxidation and DNA damage, and subsequently improves sperm quality, including sperm count, viability and normal morphology11, 12

What is Sibelius™:LactoMato?

Sibelius™:LactoMato is a unique proprietary, patented formulation, in which natural tomato extract, standardised to lycopene, has been embedded in a whey protein matrix. This minimises particle size, resulting in enhanced absorption. The bioavailability of Sibelius™:LactoMato has also been tested in a healthy volunteer trial, and lycopene in our formulation was found to be 240% more bioavailable than raw lycopene from fresh tomatoes5.

Sibelius™: LactoMato was developed following years of research into the Mediterranean diet and lycopene’s health-promoting properties. It has been subject to several clinical studies in the areas of cardiovascular and men’s health. Sibelius™:LactoMato’s latest study has focused on the area of male reproductive health, with fifty-six healthy men receiving the product for 12 weeks. This daily supplementation significantly improved sperm quality by around 40%, as measured by the proportion of fast progressive sperm and sperm with normal morphology12.

Sibelius will continue to expand the understanding of how Sibelius™: LactoMato works and can benefit each health category. Contact us to learn more.

By Loukiana Chatzinasiou
Product Manager

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1 Kerkel, M. et al. Review Article: Antioxidant and anti-proliferative properties of lycopene. Free Radical Research, 2011; 45(8): 925-940.
2 Agarwal, S. and Rao, A. K. Tomato lycopene and its role in human health and chronic diseases. CMAJ, 2000; 163(6): 739-744.
3 Mozos, I. et al. Review: Lycopene and Vascular Health. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 2018; 9(521): 1-16.
4 Story, E.N. et al. An Update on the Health Effects of Tomato Lycopene. Annu Rev Food Sci Technol, 2010; 1: 1-24.
5 Richelle, M. et al. A Food-Based Formulation Provides Lycopene with the Same Bioavailability to Humans as That from Tomato Paste. Human Nutrition and Metabolism, 2002; 404-408.
6 Gajendragadkar, P. R. et al. Effects of Oral Lycopene Supplementation on Vascular Function in Patients with Cardiovascular Disease and Healthy Volunteers: A Randomised Controlled Trial. PLOS ONE, 2014; 9(6).
7 Cheng, H.M. et al. Tomato and lycopene supplementation and cardiovascular risk factors: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Atherosclerosis; 2017; 257: 100-108.
8 Perveen, R. et al. Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) Carotenoids and Lycopenes Chemistry; Metabolism, Absorption, Nutrition, and Allied Health Claims- A Comprehensive Review. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 2013; 919-929.
9 Chen, P. et al. Lycopene and Risk of Prostate Cancer. Medicine (Baltimore), 2015; 94(33): e1260.
10 Wertz, K. Lycopene Effects Contributing to Prostate Health. Nutrition and Cancer, 2009; 61(6): 775-783.
11 Majzoub, A. and Agarawal, A. Systematic review of antioxidant types and doses in male infertility: Benefits on semen parameters, advanced sperm function, assisted reproduction and live-birth rate. Arab J Urol, 2018; 16(1):113-124.
12 Williams, E.A. et al. A randomized placebo-controlled trial to investigate the effect of lactolycopene on semen quality in healthy males. European Journal of Nutrition, 2019; 1-9.


Sibelius Lycopene Formulation Supports Reproductive, Prostate & Cardiovascular Health

Sibelius Natural Products has launched its proprietary lycopene (LactoLycopene) extract, Sibelius: LactoMato, a unique formulation made from tomato oleoresin that’s backed by multiple clinical studies demonstrating its ability to support male reproductive health, prostate health, and cardiovascular health. The novel ingredient will be distributed by its North American partner, Barrington Nutritionals.

Read the full article on the Nutraceuticals World website here.


The History of C. elegans

The history of Caenorhabditis elegans (C.elegans) in research begins with one of the leading biologists of the 20th century – Sydney Brenner. In the 1960s, Brenner developed an insight into using C. elegans as a genetic model for understanding questions of developmental biology and neurobiology. Nearly 40 years later, in 2002, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the establishment of C. elegans as a novel model organism for human-disease research.

What is C. elegans?

C.elegans is a microscopic, 1mm long free-living nematode found in soil around the world. The miniscule size of C. elegans suggests the use of microscopes in order to observe behavioural aspects of its life, or to conduct more detailed investigations down to the cellular level1.

C.elegans worms mainly reproduce via ‘female’ hermaphrodite self-fertilisation and can produce up to 300 self-progeny. Females can also reproduce with “male” worms, however the latter occurs at a frequency of less than 0.2%. During their short life cycle of approximately 3 days, eggs pass through 4 larval stages upon hatching (L1-L2-L3 and L4) through to adulthood, and gravid worms can also lay their own eggs.

Worms are usually maintained and grown at temperatures between 12-25°C. Unlike humans, they are unable to regulate their temperature and are consequently temperature sensitive. This suggests that a worm maintained at a temperature of 15°C, for example, will grow at a slower rate compared to one maintained at 20°C1.

C. elegans in research

The assessment of the main characteristics of C. elegans already shows its potential to be a good candidate for biological research. However, there are several other notable features which support C. elegans as a well-established model organism and a cornerstone of research.

Firstly, the C. elegans organism is easy and quick to grow and affordable to maintain. As mentioned previously, they produce a significant number of progeny – starting from a single worm within a few days, leading to an extensive population at various stages of development and adult life1.

In addition, the transparent body of C. elegans provides a great avenue for internal organs and cells to be extensively studied and observed. The invariant number of its somatic cells enable researchers to track the fate of every cell between fertilization and adulthood in live animals, and generate a complete cell lineage2,3.

C. elegans was also the first multicellular organism to have its genome completely sequenced4. As a result, further research identified extraordinary links to the biological and genetic relationship between C. elegans and the advanced human organism. Indeed, 60-80% of human genes have an orthologs (functional counterpart) in the C. elegans genome5 and 40% of genes known to be associated with human diseases have clear orthologs in the C. elegans genome6.

The latter, accompanied with the ease of introducing mutations into C. elegans, makes it a great candidate for creating human disease models, including ageing.

Sibelius’ patented Chronoscreen™ profiling platform utilises C. elegans to rapidly identify natural ingredients and products with the potential to support all stages of healthy aging through healthspan improvement. With this, we support the nutraceutical and cosmeceutical industries with access to natural product screening, biological activity identification and rapid product development. Contact us to learn more.

By Sotirios Kleidonas
Laboratory Operations Manager

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1 Wormbook: The Online Review of C. elegans Biology [Online] [Accessed: September 2019][Available:  http://www.wormbook.org/]
2 Sulston, JE and HR Horvitz. Post-embryonic cell lineages of the nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans. Dev. Biol. (1977); 56: 110-156.
3 Kimble, J. and D. Hirsh. The post-embryonic cell lineages of the hermaphrodite and male gonads in Caenorhabditis elegans. Dev. Biol. (1979); 70: 396-417.
4 The C. elegans Sequencing Consortium. Genome sequence of the nematode C. elegans: a platform for investigating biology. Science (1998): 2012-2018.
5 Kaletta, T and Hengartner, MO. Finding function in novel targets: C. elegans as a model organism. Nat. Rev. Drug Discov. (2006); 5: 387-398.
6 Culetto, E and Sattelle, DB. A role for Caenorhabditis elegans in understanding the function and interactions of human disease genes. Hum. Mol. Genet. (2000); 9: 869-877.


Sibelius Debuts Chamomile Extract for Sleep Support & Immune Health

Sibelius Natural Products has launched its latest botanical ingredient, Sibelius: Chamomile. Extracted from Roman chamomile, which is known for its strong antioxidant and relaxing properties, the new ingredient will be distributed by Sibelius’ North American partner, Barrington Nutritionals.

Read the full article on the Nutraceuticals World website here.


Sibelius Natural Products unveils new chamomile sleep aid

Research has shown Roman chamomile to be efficacious for restful sleep and immune support applications.

Read more on the NutraIngredients USA website here.


Sibelius Chief Scientific Officer to Speak at SupplySide West

Dr. Kieron Edwards, Chief Scientific Officer at Sibelius Natural Products, will be speaking alongside other industry experts as part of the “Healthy Aging: Antioxidants, Adaptogens & Cognition” workshop at Level 3, South Seas C on October 16 at 9 a.m.

As the average lifespan continues to increase, efforts to improve the average healthspan have taken centre stage as consumers look for solutions for healthy aging. Dr. Edwards will start the discussion with the demographic and market considerations for healthy aging and then dive into the biology of cellular aging.

“I am thrilled to share my thoughts on a topic that I truly believe is not only important to us as individuals, but to societies as a whole” said Dr. Edwards. “Aging is a very complex process. The more we understand about how our cells age and the pathways involved, the better we can prepare solutions to improve human health into our 60s and beyond.”

For more information, visit the SupplySide West website here.


The importance of a good night’s sleep and a natural way to improve it

The Sleep Health Market Overview

Although sleep problems affect a significant percentage of the population, until recently, they hadn’t received the attention devoted to other health problems1. A recent survey reported that 51% of adults globally get less sleep than needed on an average night2. Sleep deprivation may negatively impact our quality of life, including physical and mental wellbeing, such as mood, productivity, learning-ability and stress levels. It has also been associated with an increased risk of age-related health risks, including cardiovascular, metabolic and mental problems3,4. Sleep is considered to be the third pillar of health, along with nutrition and exercise, and it needs to become a clear priority to enjoy a longer and happier life5,6.

Over the past few years, the sleep health market has grown significantly. According to a recent report by McKinsey, “the sleep health industry has historically grown by more than 8% a year, with few signs of slowing down” 7. In today’s 24/7 society, insufficient sleep is a global issue that is becoming increasingly common. Working overtime, trying to combine work with family and other responsibilities, along with the increased time spent on electronic devices are only a few reasons why there has been a significant shift in our sleep habits8. Certainly, consumers are gradually becoming more aware of their sleep problems – looking for ways to improve sleep quality and duration.

“The sleep health industry has historically grown by more than 8% a year, with few signs of slowing down”, according to a recent report by McKinsey.

Today, there are plenty of sleep products available in the market, ranging from prescription to over-the-counter medications and natural sleep supplements. When it comes to serious sleep issues, some individuals prefer prescribed and OTC sleeping pills. However, these pills should only be used as a temporary solution, as their regular use has been linked to different unwanted effects, including addiction9. On the other hand, natural sleep aids consisting of ingredients with long history of traditional use, such as chamomile and valerian, provide a safe and effective way to better sleep10. Even in this case, consumers should make conscious decisions with respect to the products they select. Among the plethora of natural health supplements, branded products with high-quality, traceable and scientifically evidenced ingredients are generally considered to be safer and efficacious.

Sibelius’ Natural Solution to Restful Sleep

Considering the difficulties that individuals with sleep problems face, we have developed an all-natural solution to support sleep and maintain immune health, Sibelius™:Chamomile. It is a branded, scientifically evidenced, high-quality Roman chamomile tincture that derives from a proprietary, non-GMO cultivar of Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile L. All.), grown in the UK for Sibelius Natural Products.

Roman chamomile, more formally known as Chamaemelum nobile L. All., (or under its synonym Anthemis nobilis L.) is one of the oldest known and most widely used species of the daisy family. It has been used throughout the world for over two thousand years, and continues to be very popular in the West for its relaxing, anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic effects11. One of the most common traditional uses of this herb is to treat stress and insomnia12. Roman chamomile has an admirable safety profile and is a great source of a variety of chemical compounds, including flavonoids, sesquiterpenes, esters and phenolic acids, responsible for its immune health and relaxing properties9,13.

Sibelius will launch the Sibelius™:Chamomile tincture at SupplySide West this October. Visit booth #5310 to receive free samples and experience it for yourself!

By Loukiana Chatzinasiou
Product Manager

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1 Partinen, M et al. Chapter 7: Nutrition, Sleep and Sleep Disorders- Relations of Some Food Constituents and Sleep. INTECH. 2014.
2 Princes Cruises. Princess Cruises Expands Annual Relaxation Report Internationally. 2018. [Online] [https://www.princess.com/news/news_releases/2018/07/Princess-Cruises-Expands-Annual-Relaxation-Report-Internationally.html]
3 NHS. Why lack of sleep is bad for your health. 2018. [Online] [https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sleep-and-tiredness/why-lack-of-sleep-is-bad-for-your-health/]
4 Grander, MA. Sleep, Health and Society. Sleep Med Clin. 2016; 12(1): 1-22.
5 Watson, NF, Badr, MS, Belenky, G et al. Recommended amount of sleep for a healthy adult: a joint consensus statement of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society. Sleep. 2015, 38: 843-844.
6 Mossavar-Rahmani, Y, Weng, J, Wang, r et al. Actigraphic sleep measures and diet quality in the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos Sueno ancillary study. J Sleep Res. 2017, 26: 739-746.
7 Goldman, D. Investing in the growing sleep-health economy. McKinsey & Company. 2017.
8 Chattu, VK, Sakhamuri, SM, Kumar, R, Spence, DW, BaHammam, AS, Pandi-Perumal, SR. Insufficient Sleep Syndrome: Is it time to classify it as a major noncommunicable disease?. Sleep Sci. 2018; 11(2): 56-64.
9 Smith, M. et al. Sleeping Pills and Natural Sleep Aids. 2019. [Online] [https://www.helpguide.org/articles/sleep/sleeping-pills-and-natural-sleep-aids.htm]
10 Kline. Tech Devices and Natural Products Drive the U.S. Sleep Aids Market Growing at Double digit Rates. CISION PR Newswire. 2019.
11 EMA. Assessment report on Chamaemelum nobile (L.) All, flos. EMA. 2012.
12 Natural Touch Aromatherapy. Chamaemelum nobile/ Anthemis nobilis- Compositae (Asteraceae). [Online] Available: https://www.naturaltoucharomatherapy.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/roman-chamomile-monograph.pdf
13 Chatzinasiou, L. Roman Chamomile: A forgotten treasure. 2017. [Online] Available: http://mecklenburghsquaregarden.org.uk/roman-chamomile/


Summer internships at Sibelius

[Left to right] Kateryna, YiPeng, Amy

With the hope that the company could provide guidance and play a role in improving future career prospects of young professionals, Sibelius partnered with Santander Universities to take on two recent life science graduates from Oxford Brookes University as interns – Kateryna Trokhymchuk and Amy Bridges. They were also joined by a second year Cambridge University student – YiPeng Khoo. The Santander Internship Scheme works with universities and SMEs, and offers support through partial funding of 10-week internship programmes. With this help, it is ensured that both the business and the interns receive the most beneficial and rewarding experience from the scheme.

Joining the Sibelius team was a smooth process thanks to the supportive and welcoming community at the office. Everyone was friendly and willing to help in any way possible, with our personal highlight being the regular supply of freshly baked cakes and snacks!

Considering the variety of educational backgrounds, specific project plans were given to each of us to enhance the skills we developed at university. These included tasks ranging from product development to investment and finance. Throughout our time at the company we began with conducting secondary scientific research; analysing the viability of potential new products. This led us onto scientific marketing and evaluating recent literature, with an end goal of finding the ‘golden nugget’ of a healthy human volunteer study. After this we were challenged with assessing the current market for each respective indication; paying attention to the market size and competitors. Our final task was the more creative brand marketing – creating a logo, sell sheet and packaging ideas for potential future products. Overall this showcased an end to end experience, allowing the us to appreciate the different aspects of taking a product from initial concept to market.

On the finance side of things, YiPeng worked on crafting a full business plan and pitch deck in preparation for Sibelius’ upcoming funding round. Starting off with a deep-dive into the fundamentals of the company – understanding how the market, technology, supply chains, business strategy, and company organisation worked – he then moved on to analyse the information in order to stitch together a coherent and enticing picture for potential investors. Working closely with the CEO, YiPeng created key documents that conveyed the unique selling points of Sibelius to the target group of investors. These efforts culminated with YiPeng presenting his work to existing investors. This not only gave him invaluable feedback on his work, but also granted a complete and personal experience of the financing activity that occurs between a company and investors.

Between regular catchups with the product manager and the CEO discussing progress, we found the internship allowed us to gain confidence in our abilities. Working in an environment where we were encouraged to use our own initiative when confronted with challenges, we were also reassured that help was available when needed. In our opinion, this experience has allowed us to have a real sense of responsibility, as we were given the opportunity to make a tangible impact on the business.

Overall, the company made good use of our education by integrating it into a professional setting. This has been a valuable experience – giving us an insight to the day-to-day workings of an SME. We also found that the Sibelius community provides a supportive environment which allows both employees and interns to excel with academic autonomy. We hope that this is the beginning of a wider future initiative to continue to build a support system for students as we have found it very valuable, and would like to thank everyone at Sibelius for their guidance and support during our time here.

By Amy Bridges, Kateryna Trokhymchuk and YiPeng Khoo


How can plant genetics contribute to environmental and public health?

Out of approximately 50,000 plants presumed to promote human health, many have yet to be fully investigated and, as the pace of species extinction increases, opportunities to do so are gradually decreasing1. A recent study showed that more than 600 plant species have become extinct in the past 250 years – this is 500 times faster than expected based on historical records2. Poor land use resulting in monocultures, loss of natural pollinators and climate change have fuelled this decline, while many botanicals are being wildcrafted (harvested from the wild) – adding further to the risk of species decline in a changing climate. The extinction of these organisms holds many consequences for its natural ecosystem, as well as reducing the chances of discovering new natural compounds and extracts that may have a beneficial effect on human health.

Medicinal plants have been used traditionally for the prevention and treatment of diseases for many years3. Some of the earliest evidence of plant use for treating ailments date back to 2,600 B.C. in Mesopotamia, with about 1000 natural compounds being reported for their unique therapeutic effects4.

Artemisia annua L.

A more recent example is the discovery of artemisin, a naturally-derived compound from sweet wormwood (Artemisia annua L.) for the treatment of drug-resistant malaria parasites. During the war of North Vietnam with the US, China conducted extended research on novel antimalarial drugs to help the Northern Vietnamese treat malaria in the battlefield. More than 2000 herbal preparations were screened for their potential antimalarial effects5. Among these preparations were several extracts of Artemisia annua, which showed potential to inhibit these drug-resistant parasites. However, it was only when the chemist Tu Youyou studied a 1,600-year-old Chinese medical text that the optimal extraction methods for separating the active compound of this herb were rediscovered6. In 2015, she was awarded with the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for this discovery. While many cultures already use traditional medicine and medicinal plants to treat diseases, recent advances in genetics can provide a better insight of the specific bioactive metabolites, their concentration and the way they work to promote human health, as well as devise new strategies to protect endangered plant species.

The analysis of plant genes can provide useful insights into the phylogeny of the biological species, helping to identify plants of the same genus or family. Indeed, plants of the same family usually present several identical natural compounds or their derivatives, which may be easier to extract and separate1. Gene analysis may also prevent the overexploitation of plant species by isolating the specific genes responsible for the production of the active compounds and artificially culturing them in the laboratory.

Taxus brevifolia (source)

Consider the case of the anti-cancer drug Taxol, isolated from the bark of the Pacific Yew Tree (Taxus brevifolia). Initially, this tree was the only source of the drug, the extraction of the active substance was long and its yield was low. In addition, many trees that were hundreds of years old were needed to obtain this valuable compound7. With the advent of modern genetics, the use of stable plant cell lines, capable of producing the drug at significantly higher concentrations and quantities, has mitigated the risk of losing this crucial species.

Furthermore, species that occur in multiple geographic areas can be particularly interesting for identifying novel natural compounds, as adaption to their local environments can result in divergence in their genetic and chemical composition. This is the case for Sage (Salvia officinalis L.); a well-studied aromatic plant with a widespread distribution. In the Mediterranean, for example, geographically distinct populations produce different essential oils, and this variation is strongly associated with their genetic diversity8.

To sum up, plant genetics can be a valuable tool for the identification of high-quality botanical sources, natural extracts and compounds that may have a beneficial effect on human health. They can also provide information on the lineages to preserve and conserve the existing biodiversity and ecosystems.

At Sibelius, we use our patented Chronoscreen™ platform and our in-depth knowledge of plant biology to identify unique natural sources and form sustainable relationships with native plants; making clinically studied, scientifically proven and traceable natural ingredients accessible to everyone.

By Cristiane Forgiarini
Data Analyst

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1 Atanasov AG, et al. (2015). Discovery and resupply of pharmacologically active plant-derived natural products: A review. Biotechnology Advances, 33(8):1582-614.
2 Humphreys, AM et al. (2019) Global dataset shows geography and life form predict modern plant extinction and rediscovery. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 3:1043-1047.
3 Sofowora, A, et al. (2013) The Role of Medicinal Plants in the Strategies for Disease Prevention. African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines, 10(5): 210-229.
4 Cragg GM and Newman DJ. (2013). Natural products: a continuing source of novel drug leads. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA), 1830(6):3670-95.
5 Miller LH and Su X. (2011). Artemisinin: discovery from the Chinese herbal garden. Cell, 146(6):855-8.
6 Su X and Miller LH (2015). The discovery of artemisin and Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Science China Life Sciences, 58(11): 1175-1179.
7 Żwawiak J and Zaprutko L. (2014). A brief history of taxol. Journal of Medical Science, 83(1):47-52.
8 Rešetnik I, et al. (2016). Genetic diversity and demographic history of wild and cultivated/naturalised plant populations: evidence from Dalmatian Sage (Salvia officinalis L., Lamiaceae). PloS One, 11(7):e0159545.


Learning from pathways of cellular aging

Although a debate still exists whether the human lifespan has a natural upper limit, human life expectancy has been increasing throughout recent history. Amongst other things, this can be linked to developments in medicine and improvements in public health. It is also clear that diet and lifestyle can have significant effects on health and the way people age.

Read the full article on the Natural Products Insider website here.