HealthDay News — People who cooked with a blend of sesame and rice bran oils saw a significant drop in blood pressure and improved cholesterol levels, findings from a study show.

Cooking with this combination of oils worked nearly as well as taking BP-lowering medications, and yielded even more impressive results when used in conjunction with calcium channel blockers, Devarajan Sankar, MD, PhD, a research scientist in the Department of Cardiovascular Disease at Fukuoka University Chikushi Hospital in Chikushino, Japan, reported at the American Heart Association’s High Blood Pressure Research Scientific Sessions.

“Rice bran oil, like sesame oil, is low in saturated fat and appears to improve a patient’s cholesterol profile,” Sankar said. “Additionally, it may reduce heart disease risk in other ways, including being a substitute for less healthy oils and fats in the diet.”

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The 60-day prospective clinical trial randomly assigned 300 patients in equal proportion to either a calcium channel blogger (30 mg/day), a sesame oil blend (Vivo; 35 g of oil/day/person), or a sesame oil blend (35 g of oil/day/person) plus a calcium channel blocker (30 mg/day).

Mean patient age was 57 years. BP was measured at baseline and again at 15, 30, 45 and 60 days. A lipid profile was conducted at t he end of 60 days.

The researchers found that all three groups had a significant decrease in systolic (−16.2 mm Hg for the calcium channel blocker, −14 mm Hg for the oil; −36 mm Hg for the combination) and diastolic (−12 mm Hg, −10.8 mm Hg, and −23.8 mm Hg, respectively) blood pressure.

A greater reduction was induced in the calcium channel blocker and sesame oil combination group, and the drug dose was reduced due to the decrease in blood pressure. For the oil alone group, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides levels in the blood were significantly reduced, while high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels increased. Similar results were seen in the combination therapy group.

Diastolic blood pressure also dropped significantly: 11 points for those eating the oil, 12 for those on medication and 24 for those using both.

“We have demonstrated, for the first time that dietary intervention with blends of sesame and rice bran oils lowers blood pressure and lipids in hypertensive individuals,” the researchers wrote.

They suggested that healthier fatty acids and antioxidants, such as sesamin, sesamol, sesamolin and oryzanol, in the oil blends may be responsible for the results. These antioxidants, mono and poly unsaturated oils are compounds found in plants and have been linked with lower BP and total cholesterol in earlier studies.

Additional studies are needed to confirm the beneficial cardiovascular effects of this oil combination, they added.


  1. Sankar D et al. Abstract #186. American Heart Association High Blood Pressure Research 2012 Scientific Sessions. Sept. 19-22, 2012; Washington, D.C.