A lignan known as sesamin, found in raw unhulled sesame seeds and its paste tahini has been shown to have powerful antioxidant properties . Lignans generally come packaged within fiber-rich foods, and don’t let the name fool you; because sesamins can also be found in chickpeas, cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, and in apricots and strawberries. Though sesame seeds are particularly abundant in this beneficial compound.
How does it work?
Sesamin works indirectly to increase circulating levels of Vitamin E, especially γ-tocopherol and γ-tocotrienol by blocking its degradation; the antioxidant benefits of which are far-reaching. Studies reveal a positive correlation between Vitamin E intake and heart, liver health, eye, brain, and nerve health. Its protective properties are not limited to certain body parts, however . Theoretically, if it’s a tissue that is susceptible to damage, Vitamin E can prevent or reduce that damage.
It has also been shown to preserve bodily stores of Vitamin K; an important factor in blood clotting.
When taken in conjunction with these supplements (at varying doses,) its activity may be enhanced:
Fish oil – Sesamin has been shown to boost hepatic fat oxidation when taken alone. Combining it with fish oil reduces the effective dose by half (from 0.5% of the diet to 0/2%) .
Alpha-Lipoic Acid – one study shows this combination may have additive effects in improving lipid profiles .
Schisandra – this combination has shown to be as effective as milk thistle in aiding liver detoxification, increasing blood flow, and increasing hepatic antioxidant levels over a 5-month period .
How much should I take:
Scientific studies have shown the effective dosage to be between 100-150mg of sesamin , which can be found in 10-15g (about 1 Tablespoon) of raw sesame seeds.
Possible drug-nutrient interaction:
Sesamin may interfere with enzymes that metabolize certain drugs. If you are taking prescriptions medications, check with your doctor before taking large amounts of sesamin.