Black Sesame Meal Lowers Blood Pressure in Pre-hypertensive Patients

Dietary black sesame meal may have the ability to prevent hypertension in pre-hypertensive individuals, thus lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease.

According to a recent study, dietary black sesame meal may have the ability to prevent hypertension in pre-hypertensive individuals, thus lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Hypertension is known to be a large risk factor for developing CVD, a major cause of death globally, and high blood pressure (BP) greatly amplifies adverse effects of the disease.

Previous studies have investigated the anti-hypertensive effects of sesame’s contents—lignan and vitamin E—in humans and rats, but this is the first study which has investigated the effect that sesame itself has on hypertension.

The researchers focused on thirty pre-hypertensive individuals—22 men and eight women—roughly between the ages of 44-46. They randomly assigned the participants into one of two groups, with 15 people per group. The researchers then administered each participant either 2.52g of black sesame meal capsules or a placebo every day for four weeks.

The researchers then took blood samples after the participants fasted overnight for measurement of plasma lipid, malondialdehyde (MDA), and vitamin E levels.

Body composition, anthropometry, and blood pressure were measured before and after the four weeks of administering either the black sesame meal or a placebo.

The researchers found that participants who were given black sesame meal capsules for four weeks had considerably decreased systolic blood pressure levels in comparison to participants who were given the placebo. They also presented with lowered MDA levels and increased vitamin E levels.

The change in systolic blood pressure observed in the sesame meal group was inclined to be positively linked to the change in MDA, but the change in diastolic blood pressure was negatively connected to the change in vitamin E levels.

There were no observed relationships between alterations in blood pressure and oxidative stress in the placebo group.

Regarding the antihypertensive effect observed in the black sesame meal group, the authors wrote thatit is possible the meal enhanced the balance between relaxing and contracting factors in the endothelium of blood vessels, resulting in the overall improvement of blood pressure levels.

The study possesses limitations, however--namely the fact that it did not have data on endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation determined by other antioxidants, such as vitamin C.

Further, the study did not delve into the possible effect of vitamin E on membrane fluidity and the ability of lignans, a content of sesame, to inhibit 20-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid synthesis in human renal and liver microsomes. In light of these limitations, further investigation is necessary.

The authors concluded that these findings show the anti-hypertensive effects of black sesame meal, and that, with further research, black sesame meal may one day be used as a prevention method of CVD.

This article is published and available in full text online in Nutrition Journal.