Sesamol overview

Sesamol is a plant that is grown for the Sesame oil in its seeds. It is readily available in subtropical and tropical areas of Asia, South America, and Africa. It is very similar to other plants including peanuts and soybean. Sesamol extract from seeds are believed to contain the highest amount of oil. Sesame oil is a rich source of proteins, antioxidants, and vitamins.  Sesamol powder is widely used in Ayurveda medicine to heal a wide variety of health problems without any serious side effects


What is Sesamol

Sesamol is a naturally-occurring organic compound obtained from processed sesame oil and roasted sesame seeds.

Sesame (Sesamum indicum) is an annual herb of Pedaliaceae family. The sesame plants originate from East Africa and India but are today grown in many countries in the world.  It has been cultivated since ancient times for its oil content and edible seeds.  Sesame is also known as benne, gingelly, and popularly as the ‘Queen of Oilseeds’.


Mechanism of Sesamol

A wide range of Sesamol mechanism underlies its antioxidant, anti-proliferative, anti-inflammatory, anti-apoptotic effects. The Sesamol mechanism includes;


i. Inhibits lipid peroxidation

Sesamol prevents lipid oxidation in tissues such as liver and heart by eradicating the free radicals that results in lipid peroxidation.


ii. Enhancing radical scavenging activity

Sesamol compound has the ability to get rid of free radicals such as hydroxyl and peroxynitrite radicals that cause oxidative stress.


iii. Upregulation of antioxidative enzymes

Sesamol greatly improves the activities of important antioxidant enzymes such as superoxide dismutase, catalase, and glutathione peroxidase.


iv. Inihibits inflammatory cells

Sesamol promotes the production of nitric oxide and pro-inflammatory cytokines, while it suppresses the expression of nitric oxide synthesis and also promotes Nrf2, which is an antioxidant pathway. Further, Sesamol is able to block the MAPK and NF-κB pathways and lower the production of reactive oxygen species, which in turn reduces the inflammatory response.
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v. Reducing the levels of nitrites

Sesamol acts as an anti-inflammatory agent by reducing the level of nitrites, which are often pro-inflammatory mediators.


vi. Arrests cell growth at different cell phases

Sesamol has been shown to slow down cell growth at S phase which helps especially in slowing down cancer growth.


vii. Induces apoptosis

Sesamol may induce apoptosis by inhibiting mitochondrial autophagy, increasing intracellular reactive oxygen, and through intrinsic and extrinsic pathways.

Other mechanisms employed by Sesamol include; protection of DNA against damage, activation of cell caspase pathways, and inhibition of cell viability.


The metabolic mechanism of Sesamol in vivo

Most Sesamol is metabolized in the body after being digested in the gastrointestinal track. It is disintegrated into conjugated forms of Sesamol glucuronide and sesaminol sulphate in the liver. The rest is conjugated then circulated to body tissues, with a higher percentage being carried to the brain, kidneys, and lungs.

In a study with rats, Sesamol treatment was found to result in decreased levels of Sesamol in the serum and higher amounts of sulphate and glucuronide metabolites.


Benefits of Sesamol

Since the ancient times to the modern world, sesame oil has been used in cooking, hair health due to the presence of antioxidant, Sesamol and health benefits associated with it including;


(1) Antioxidant Surname

Antioxidants are compounds that prevent or slow damage to cells caused by free radicals. Free radicals often lead to oxidative stress which has been linked to causing inflammation and other disorders. Sesamol antioxidant is found in sesame oil and play a vital role in protecting cells from oxidative damage.

In a study of 30 male Wilstar albino rats, Isoproterenol (group ISO) was used to induce the oxidative myocardial damage. Sesame oil given orally at 5 and 10 ml/kg body weight showed the protective potential of Sesamol through decreased thiobarbituric acid reactive substance (TBARS) and enhanced the endogenous antioxidative activity.


(2) Antibacterial

Bacteria are microorganisms that can be found nearly everywhere. They can be beneficial or harmful leading to disorders such pneumonia, urinary tract infections among other diseases. Sesamol has anti-bacterial effects which makes it a beneficial compound.

Studies have shown the antimicrobial activity of Sesamol compound against several bacterial and fungal pathogens.


(3) Anti-inflammatory

Inflammation is a beneficial process of the body defenses against foreign factors such infection, injuries and toxins that aid in healing. However, chronic inflammation which occurs when the body remains in this state of alert for long could have negative impact on the body.

Sesamol supplement is known to have potential anti-inflammatory properties.

In a study with rats, Sesamol supplementation was reported to reduce systemic lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced lung inflammation through inhibition of the alveolar macrophage inflammation response in rats. Sesamol led to a decrease in lung injury and edema.


(4) Antitumor effect

A tumor refers to a mass of tissues that result from the growth of abnormal cells (cells that grow and the body doesn’t need and unlike normal cells they don’t die). Although not all tumors are cancerous, it’s worthy eliminating them where possible.

Several researchers have reported that Sesamol possesses some anti-cancer effects. Sesamol has been demonstrated to induce apoptosis in various cancer cells.

Scientific studies have shown that Sesamol leads to induction of apoptosis in human liver cancer cells by disrupting the membrane potential, hence mitochondrial dysfunction.


(5) Lower blood pressure

High blood pressure is a common condition that could cause disorders such as cardiovascular disease (CVD), kidney disease and stroke.

Evidence tabled at an annual meeting of American heart Association indicated that Sesamol has the ability to lower blood pressure. The study involved 133 women and 195 men with hypertension. After being subjected to Sesamol supplement for sixty day, their mean blood pressure fell within normal range.

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(6) Scavenging free radicals

Free radicals are unstable atoms that cause damage to cells leading to aging and illnesses.

Sesamol has been found to possess anti-oxidant properties by reducing free radicals such as hydroxyl radicals, hydrogen peroxide, nitric oxide and superoxide.


(7) Anti-radiation

Radiation is simply any process where energy emitted by a single body moves through a certain medium to reach another body for absorption. Radiation protection prevents the incidence of dangerous deterministic effects thus reducing the possibility of stochastic effects such as hereditary effects and cancer.

To study the effects of Sesamol extract on radiation, gamma-radiation of different doses was directed to lymphocytes pre-treated with Sesamol extract. It was found that Sesamol pre-treatment has remarkable protection against cellular damage induced by gamma-radiation on human lymphocytes. Sesamol exhibits radio-protective effects that prevent DNA damage. In addition, Sesamol enhances DNA repair following γ -radiation


(8) Antimutagenic effect

Mutagenicity refers to form of induced permanent change in the amount and structure of DNA. Mutagenecity often result in undesirable mutation leading to diseases such as sickle-cell anaemia. Sesamol has demonstrated anti-mutagenic activity in oxygen species induced mutagenecity.


(9) Metabolic syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a group of conditions (such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels and accumulated bad cholesterol levels) that often work together and increase the risk of heart diseases, diabetes, and obesity.

Obesity is simply an accumulation of excessive body fats. In a recent study, male mice with induced obesity were subjected to Sesamol supplementation at a 100mg/kg of body weight daily for four weeks. This resulted to reduced weight gain in the obese mice and also lowered the lipid accumulation in the liver the adipose tissues.

In a study of 60 type 2 diabetic individuals sesame oil, used alone or in combination with other diabetic medication, resulted in reduced blood sugar levels within sixty days.

Several studies found out that Sesamol induce mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) loss and also defects metabolism of mitochondrial energy. Furthermore, Sesamol suppress mitophagy and mitochondrial biogenesis inducing carcinoma cell death through accumulation of extra defective mitochondria. The studies suggested that mitochondrion have a major role in hepatocellular carcinoma apoptosis that is Sesamol-induced.


(10) Insulin resistance

Insulin resistance is a condition where the body does not respond to the hormonal insulin leading to increased level of insulin and blood sugar level. This results to health conditions such as type2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity. Sesamol have been reported to increase insulin sensitivity and also insulin levels.


(11) Neurodegenerative disease

Neurodegenerative disease is a collective term referring to conditions that causes damage to neurons in human brain. This condition includes Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease. These disorders affect our body activities such as movement, breathing, balance, talking and heart functioning.

In a research conducted by neuroscientists on iron-intoxicated mice, it was found that Sesamol provided protection against hepatic dysfunction and systematic oxidative stress. It has also been reported that Sesamol can be used in treatment of Huntington ’s disease.


Sesamol and Sesamin

Sesamol and sesamin are strong antioxidants obtained from sesame seeds and sesame oil. Unlike sesamin and other sesame lignants such as sesaminolin, Sesamol is only found in trace amounts in the raw sesame seeds. This, therefore, necessitates Sesamol synthesis.


Is Sesamol benefits for hair and skin?

There are numerous Sesamol hair benefits including;


i. Promotes hair growth

Massaging Sesame oil on the scalp nourishes the hair shafts and follicles due to its high penetrative properties. It significantly promotes hair growth by improving scalp blood circulation. Sesame oil for hair has been reported to heal damages resulting from extreme chemicals uses either hair colouring or any other hair treatments.


ii. Prevents hair loss

Hair loss could occur due to stress or diseases such as cancer. Sesamol applied through massage offers a soothing effect that helps in both reducing stress and preventing stress related hair loss.

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iii. Repair of damaged hair

Sesamol is an excellent component in revitalising damaged hair due to its ability to penetrate deep in the scalp. This ensures that the hair problem is treated from within and thus a healthy hair emerges.


iv. Sesamol benefit for grey hair

Premature greying of hair is something you would not wish for your hair. However, grey hair may appear due the inability of the body to produce enough melanin, stress, genetics, poor dieting and chemical use.

Sesamol supplement when used properly not only helps retain the natural colour of the hair but also exhibits some darkening properties that helps darken the already grey hair.


v. Relief from dandruffs

Dandruffs may appear due to a dry skin, allergic reactions to skin products and presence of fungus.

Sesamol has anti- bacterial properties that helps fight bacteria and fungi hence eliminate the appearances of dandruffs on the scalp.

The benefits of Sesamol for skin have been proven through various studies. Some of the Sesamol skin benefits include;


i. Protection from UV rays

Sesamol is believed to provide a protective coating on skin helping one escape the dangers of UV rays.


ii. Nourishing the skin

Sesame oil which contains antioxidants such as Sesamol and sesamonil penetrates deep into the skin layers which helps the skin to rejuvenate and thus a glowing skin.


iii. Getting rid of acnes

Acnes often develop due to clogged skin pores and also some harmful microorganisms. The sesame oil contains unsaturated fatty acids which enables it to be used without clogging the pores. Additionally the antibacterial properties of Sesamol go a long way in killing the harmful microorganisms hence an acne free skin.


What are the current processes for synthesizing Sesamol?

Sesamol, a major antioxidant component in the sesame oil extracts, is most often produced from sesamolin through roasting sesame seed and also in through bleaching sesame oil.

(1) Sesame oil

Sesame oil is primarily derived from the raw, pressed seeds of the annual sesame plant (Sesamum indicum). Sesamol synthesis from sesame oil is the simplest method.  However, it is too expensive for commercial production due to the high solvent consumption.

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(2) Piperonamine

Sesamol synthesis of Piperonamine through hydrolysis process is a more technical method used by some commercial manufacturers. The method, however, has its shortcoming as they have to deal with side reactions. The pigments formed in the Sesamol extract cannot be eradicated through tuning, which makes it uneconomical to scale up production.


(3) Jasmonaldehyde

Semi-synthesis of Jasmonaldehyde through hydrolysis process combined with oxidation is the most efficient process that guarantees manufacturers an optimal Sesamol extract. The process involves cost-efficient extraction technology and oxidants enhancing fast separation of Sesamol from extraction zone. This process significantly minimises the chances of side reactions occurrence, resulting to a comparably pure Sesamol extract. Most consumers of Sesamol buy this crystal-like sesame powder.


What fields are Sesamol currently used for?

Drug industry-

Sesamol has been used widely in manufacture of drugs and related uses due to its potential in treating various disorders such as heart disorders,


Food industry-

Sesamol is a food additive used in spices, food flavours and colourings. It is also being used in cooking as a preservative.

Personal care and cosmetics industry- Sesamol has been used in hair dyes, colourings and oil for hair health.


Where can I get a best sesame powder?

The best sesame powder can be purchased online from approved sesame extract suppliers and amazingly the sesame price is relatively inexpensive compared to other natural antioxidants. Despite this being a natural antioxidant consider checking the label for proper usage and any possible Sesamol side effects indicated.


  1. Aslam, F., Iqbal, S., Nasir, M., & Anjum, A. A. (2019). White Sesame Seed Oil Mitigates Blood Glucose Level, Reduces Oxidative Stress, and Improves Biomarkers of Hepatic and Renal Function in Participants with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 38(3), 235–246.
  2. Chu, P.Y., Chien, S.P., Hsu, D.Z., Liu, M.Y., 2010a. Protective effect of Sesamol on the pulmonary inflammatory response and lung injury in endotoxemic rats. Food Chem.Toxicol. 48 (7), 1821–1826.
  3. Devarajan, Sankar & Rao, M & G, Sambandam & Pugalendi, Viswanathan. (2006). A Pilot Study of Open Label Sesame Oil in Hypertensive Diabetics. Journal of Medicinal Food. 9(3). 408-12. 10.1089/jmf.2006.9.408.
  4. Hou, Yu-Chi & Tsai, Shang-Yuan & Liu, I-Ling & Yu, Chung-Ping & Chao, Pei-Dawn. (2008). Metabolic Transformation of Sesamol and ex Vivo Effect on 2, 2 ‘-Azo-bis(2-amidinopropane)-dihydrochloride-Induced Haemolysis. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry. 56. 9636-40. 10.1021/jf801453f.
  5. Majdalawieh, A. F., & Mansour, Z. R. (2019). Sesamol, a major lignan in sesame seeds (Sesamum indicum): Anti-cancer properties and mechanisms of action. European Journal of Pharmacology, 855, 75–89.
  6. Saleem, M. T., Chetty, M. C., & Kavimani, S. (2013). Putative antioxidant property of sesame oil in an oxidative stress model of myocardial injury. Journal of cardiovascular disease research, 4(3), 177–181.
  7. SESAMOL (533-31-3)