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What is Sesamin?

By Nick Doniger
Updated Feb 01, 2024
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Sesamin is a compound found in sesame seeds and sesame oil. It belongs to a group of fibrous plant compounds known as lignans, along with a closely related lignan called sesamolin. Numerous studies on rats and mice have suggested various health benefits of sesamin. This compound is known to promote anti-inflammatory effects, normalize blood pressure, lower cholesterol, aid in vitamin E absorption, protect the liver, and contribute to weight loss. It is additionally believed to have antioxidant effects.

There are numerous benefits to consuming sesamin while dieting. It has been proven to increase the body's ability to burn fat while decreasing the body's fat storage capacity. Additionally, it helps to preserve lean muscle mass. This is particularly beneficial when dieting, as a restricted diet may break down muscle mass for use as fuel in the body.

Many studies have been conducted on the effects of sesamin on mice and rats, suggesting that the same effects are likely for humans. Its anti-inflammatory effects have been proven in such studies where animals were fed sesame oil. Other studies have confirmed that sesamin lowers both serum cholesterol and liver cholesterol levels. While the compound is also believed to raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol — often referred to as "good cholesterol" — some studies have suggested that this may only occur when combined with other compounds.

Sesamin's ability to lower "bad cholesterol," along with its ability to lower serum triglycerides when combined with conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), may additionally aid in the prevention of heart attacks and strokes. Small amounts of cholesterol and triglycerides, both types of lipids, are actually necessary for the human body to properly function. They may, however, contribute to serious health detriments when consumed in excess.

While there are some mild contradictions regarding its benefits and advantages, very few side effects or negative effects of sesamin have been noted in scientific studies. One of the only supposed disadvantages is that a fairly high amount may be required to be consumed in order to reap some of its health benefits. Allergic reactions to the compound have also been reported, but are considered rare.

The benefits of sesamin may be reaped through the ingestion of sesame oil and other products made from sesame seeds. The compound is found in both black sesame seeds and white sesame seeds. It may additionally be taken in pill form as a dietary supplement.

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