Tomato extract shows blood thinning potential versus aspirin: Study

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags Eu health claim Platelet Blood Nutrition

A proprietary tomato extract – backed in EU health claim law to benefit blood circulation – has been shown to thin blood in healthy people – but less severely than aspirin and without typical side-effects.

The research – published today in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition​ and backed by Fruitflow tomato extract owners Provexis and ingredient supplier DSM – concluded the lycopene-free extract may be appropriate for use as a dietary antiplatelet.

Lead researcher Dr Niamh O’Kennedy working for Provexis at the Rowett Institute of Nutrition & Health at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland told us the research showed tomato extracts could be used as alternatives to drugs like aspirin for blood thinning. This was especially the case for groups like the elderly who frequently were intolerant of drugs like aspirin typically prescribed for that purpose.

“Platelet function is very tricky,”​ Dr O’Kennedy told us. “If you knock out the platelets it can have a bad effect on the body. And many treatments knock out too much. Some people respond strongly so bad they bleed. Fruitflow is in the middle ground.”

She added: “Results like this show that people and the medical world should start looking at dietary interventions like these that can have a big impact."

Platelet plugs usually form within 50-100 seconds. The researchers found platelet plugs were formed within 100-150 seconds among Fruitflow users, compared to 300-600 seconds for aspirin users.

Because of this more gentle effect, Dr Kennedy and her team suggested Fruitflow could be a suitable dietary intervention to control platelet hyperactivity which increases with age, the onset of type II diabetes, mellitus, atherosclerosis and other conditions in subjects with low cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk.


The dosage in the double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over experiment among 47 healthy 45-75 year old Scottish adults varied with single doses of 65 mg and up to a maximum matching the EU-approved level of 150 mg of Fruitflow per day. The control group took 75 mg of aspirin per day an some took placebo.

blood clot cardiovascular heart stroke iStock somersault1824
Blood, clotting ©iStock/somersault1824

Various platelet measurements were taken with the above-mentioned moderate effect measured – something the researchers noted was “reversible”​ in the short-term in the tomato extract, as opposed to a more permanent thinning for aspirin.

The two groups took Fruitflow in capsule form, aspirin or a placebo for two periods of seven days with a wash-out period of 14 days  in between.

Professor O’Kennedy was employed by Provexis when the UK firm won its EU health claim​ in 2009, for periods after that and, with the other researchers, for the duration of this study.


European Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Published online 23 November, pp 1-8. doi:10.1038/ejcn.2016.222

‘A randomised controlled trial comparing a dietary antiplatelet,1the water-soluble tomato extract Fruitflow, with 75mg aspirin in healthy subjects’

Authors: N O’Kennedy, L Crosbie, H-J Song, X Zhang, G Horgan, AK Duttaroy

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