Sesamin is a lignan extracted from sesame seed oil. Sesamin is marketed as a fat loss aid which works by agonizing PPAR-alpha receptors, which are involved in the regulation of the uptake and oxidation of fatty acids. Sesamin has been claimed to encourage fat loss on a calorie deficit and prevent fat gain on a calorie surplus.
Research is not conclusive on the effectiveness of sesamin as a fat loss aid, but it has been shown to have other benefits. Sesamin has been shown to improve lipid profiles by reducing the absorption and synthesis of cholesterol, support liver health, reduce blood pressure, and act as a anti-oxidant which prevents exercise-induced oxidative damage. Unfortunately, sesamin has also been found to convert to enterolactone, which has some estrogenic effects. This makes it of possible benefit to post-menopausal women, but it may have negative effects in terms of building and maintaining muscle.
Anecdotally, some users of sesamin have found that they experience some estrogenic effects, especially at high doses. Some have reported that when utilizing sesamin to prevent body fat gain buring a bulking phase, it is more difficult to gain muscle than when they did not use sesamin. Still, some people are still fans of sesamin and feel that it assists them in losing fat and preventing fat gain.
1. Kiso Y, Tsuruoka N, Kidokoro A, Matsumoto I, & Abe K. (2005). Sesamin ingestion regulates the transcription levels of hepatic metabolizing enzymes for alcohol and lipids in rats. Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research. 29(11), 116S-120S.
2. Miyawaki T, Aono H, Toyoda-Ono Y, Maeda H, Kiso Y, & Moriyama K. (2009). Antihypertensive effects of sesamin in humans. Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology. 55(1), 87-91.
3. Kong X, Yang JR, Guo LQ, Xiong Y, Wu XQ, Huang K, & Zhou Y. (2009). Sesamin improves endothelial dysfunction in renovascular hypertensive rats fed with a high-fat, high-sucrose diet. European Journal of Pharmacology. 620(1-3), 84-9.
4. Ikeda T, Nishijima Y, Shibata H, Kiso Y, Ohnuki K, Fushiki T, & Moritani T. (2003). Protective effect of sesamin administration on exercise-induced lipid peroxidation. International Journal of Sports Medicine. 24(7), 530-4.
5. Ashakumary L, Rouyer I, Takahashi Y, Ide T, Fukuda N, Aoyama T, Hashimoto T, Mizugaki M, & Sugano M. (1999). Sesamin, a sesame lignan, is a potent inducer of hepatic fatty acid oxidation in the rat. Metabolism: Clinical and Experimental. 48(10), 1303-13.
6. Hirose N, Inoue T, Nishihara K, Sugano M, Akimoto K, Shimizu S, & Yamada H. (1991). Inhibition of cholesterol absorption and synthesis in rats by sesamin. Journal of Lipid Research. 32(4), 629-38.
7. Liu Z, Saarinen NM, & Thompson LU. (2006). Sesamin is one of the major precursors of mammalian lignans in sesame seed (Sesamum indicum) as observed in vitro and in rats. The Journal of Nutrition. 136(4), 906-12.
8. Wu WH, Kang YP, Wang NH, Jou HJ, & Wang TA. (2006). Sesame ingestion affects sex hormones, antioxidant status, and blood lipids in postmenopausal women. The Journal of Nutrition. 136(5), 1270-5.
9. Penalvo JL, Heinonen SM, Aura AM, & Adlercreutz H. (2005). Dietary sesamin is converted to enterolactone in humans. The Journal of Nutrition. 135(5), 1056-62.
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