LM.A. Korou, I.P. Tzanetakou, I.S. Vlachos, I.P. Doulamis, D.N. Perrea
Sesame belongs to the species Sesamum indicum (Pedaliaceae family). It has been extensively used as a traditional food in the orient but it is also considered to have important medical properties. Sesame is referred to have potential health benefits in relation to cardiovascular disorders. There is abundant data supporting the hypolipidemic and antioxidant action of many components of sesame seed and its oil. The results of experimental and clinical studies on the lipid lowering and antioxidant effects of sesame and of its products are described in the present review. Recent research has focused on the unique sesame lignans found in abundance in the seeds, which exhibit great potential in reducing blood lipid levels, enhancing body’s antioxidant capacity, and increasing vitamin E bioavailability. Sesame lignans such as sesamin, sesamolin and sesamol can affect fatty acid metabolism while they can influence serum cholesterol levels by inhibiting intestinal cholesterol absorption and by suppressing hepatic cholesterol synthesis. Polyunsaturated fatty acids in sesame seeds and sesame oil are also considered to improve the disturbed serum lipid levels in human and animal models.
Keywords: Sesame, cholesterol, blood lipids, lignans, hypolipidemic agends