Study: SESAME OIL found to promote bone health in post-menopausal women

Jan 15, 2024
Health
0 0

The fragrant aroma of some Chinese dishes comes from sesame oil, which comes from the seeds of the sesame plant (Sesamum indicum). But aside from infusing a delicious scent to food, sesame oil can also provide health benefits – in this case, promoting healthy bones for post-menopausal women.

Researchers from Taiwan analyzed this possibility in an animal study published in Scientific Reports. They suggested that sesame oil supplementation positively affects levels of the sex hormone estrogen. In turn, elevated estrogen levels appear to prevent osteoporosis – a condition that causes the bones to become weak and brittle – in older women.

The study authors took 24 female Sprague Dawley rats, all 12 weeks old, whose ovaries were surgically removed. They were then divided into four groups:

  • Rats that received sham surgery
  • Rats that received actual surgery
  • Actual surgery rats that received 0.25 milliliters/kilogram (ml/kg) of sesame oil orally
  • Actual surgery rats that received 0.5 ml/kg of sesame oil orally

The last two groups were given sesame oil for four months, starting from the moment they recovered from surgery and exhibited vital signs. Upon analysis, the study authors found that sesame oil maintained serum estradiol (a form of estrogen) and aromatase (an estrogen receptor) in the rats supplemented with sesame oil. The levels of these two hormones were much higher in the supplemented groups than in the groups that weren’t.

While estradiol plays a significant role in bone health, its levels typically decrease after menopause. “Maintaining levels of aromatase … could be a way to keep estrogen levels high enough among women going through menopause,” the Epoch Times noted.

The rats given sesame oil also showed positive signs of bone formation – namely increased bone mineral density, serum osteocalcin and trabecular area measurement. They also showed increased levels of procollagen-I C-terminal propeptide – a marker for collagen synthesis – and decreased levels of the bone loss marker N-telopeptide.

Phytoestrogens responsible for sesame oil’s bone-protective properties

According to the researchers, sesame oil can boost estrogen as it is rich in phytoestrogenic compounds. Phytoestrogens are compounds found in plants that are structurally similar to estrogen. They are known to mimic how the sex hormone acts in the body by attaching to estrogen receptors in the cells.

Based on other studies, phytoestrogens can reduce many of the symptoms associated with menopause that arise from low estrogen. Because of this, the study authors noted that phytoestrogens can be a good alternative to hormone replacement therapy (HRT) because they have fewer side effects. They wrote in the paper’s abstract that the use of HRT “to manage post-menopausal osteoporosis … has raised concerns related to heart attacks and breast cancer.”

One well-known phytoestrogen is isoflavone, which is abundant in soybeans and their derivative products. The researchers also mentioned that sesame oil contains lignans, which constitute other phytoestrogenic compounds. One such lignan in sesame oil is sesamin, which is primarily cited as responsible for sesame oil’s health benefits.

Aside from maintaining serum estradiol levels and promoting bone growth in supplemented rats, the study authors also observed that sesame oil has properties that fight inflammation and oxidative stress. “We propose that there may be additional mechanism involved in attenuating [post-menopausal] osteoporosis through sesame oil,” they noted, adding that the same anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative stress properties have also been observed in soybean oil.

Moreover, the study authors also brought up the possibility of using sesame oil in combination with probiotics to address osteoporosis in post-menopausal women.

“Probiotics like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium have been shown to prevent bone loss. Interestingly, Lactobacillus-fermented products such as milk and soy skim milk have been reported to have a beneficial effect on bone health. Innovative research can be expected with combinational treatments using probiotics and sesame oil, which may have syngenetic effects on osteoporosis,” they wrote. (Related: Eating probiotic foods helps improve bone health in women.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *