Study shows sesame seed oil might be good for your heart

ORLANDO, Fla. – Prices for most name-brand prescription drugs have risen 208 percent from 2008 to 2016. That is causing up to 20 percent of people to either skip taking their much-needed medication or cut it in half to reduce costs. But now researchers are looking toward cheaper and more natural alternatives. 

One in 4 deaths in the U.S. is due to heart disease. Now a researcher is looking to change that starting right in your kitchen. 

“The extent to which sesame oil prevented atherosclerosis was over 80 percent and it was stunning because even the best pharmaceutical agents do not go that far,” said Sampath Parthasarathy, Ph.D., MBA, professor at the College of Medicine at UCF and Florida Hospital Endowed Chair of Cardiovascular Sciences. 

Atherosclerosis, or the buildup of plaque in the artery walls, is usually caused by high cholesterol and chronic inflammation. Current drug treatments, like statins, only treat high cholesterol. The anti-inflammatory benefit of sesame also opens it up to treat other diseases.  

Parthasarathy said, “Inflammation is the basis for many chronic diseases, arthritis, Crohn’s disease, even Alzheimer’s.” 

This has led to a clinical trial for those suffering from Crohn’s disease, possibly providing a less harsh and cheaper alternative to medications, like Humira.  

“Each injection is about $5 to $10,000. The great thing about sesame oil extract is that it’s cheap and easy to prepare and the side effects are much less compared to the other types of drugs,” said Michael Rohr, an M.D./Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Central Florida.

“So, if kitchen is beneficial, someday you may not even need to go to the clinic. From the kitchen to the clinic, that is my message,” Parthasarathy said.

The researchers are currently recruiting for the Crohn’s trial and expect to have it up and running in early 2019. Participants must be between 18 and 75 and not have a nut allergy. For more information about the clinical trial, call 407-266-7120.

Contributors to this news report include: Milvionne Chery, Field Producer; Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Hayley Hudson, Assistant Producer; Roque Correa, Videographer and Editor.