A compound contained in sesame seeds is the new ally for liver health, useful in countering fatty liver and its possible evolution into liver cirrhosis. This is what emerges from a very recent scientific research published in the Nutrients journal (Zheng et al, Nutrients, Dec 2021).
The risk of fatty liver
A high-fat diet can pave the way, in the long run, to a condition called fatty liver, which is an excessive accumulation of fat in liver cells resulting in an increase in the size of the liver. The danger of fatty liver is that inflammation and oxidative stress can lead to fatty liver disease to become cirrhosis. This is why it is important to combat fatty liver, which, however, is nowadays a condition that records cases in continuous growth. Sesamol is the active ingredient in sesame seeds and sesame seed oil. This substance is characterized by neuroprotective and, as shown in the study we are talking about today, also hepatoprotective properties.
The active ingredient of sesame protects the liver, the study
The research was carried out in the laboratory on a population of mice. The mice were divided into three groups. One group was given a more balanced diet without excess fat for 3 months, the second group a high-fat diet and finally the third group a high-fat diet with the addition of sesamol. What emerged was that the high-fat diet alone, without the addition of sesamol, led, as expected, to an increase in body weight. Instead, this weight gain was not observed in the case of the addition of sesamol, even if the energy intake was the same in the two cases. Not only that, fat mass and liver volume were lower when sesamol was added to the diet. But sesamol has also been shown to protect the liver by counteracting oxidative stress and inflammation related to the condition of fatty liver, through the activation of the Nrf2 transcription factor, which is a substance involved in anti-inflammatory and antioxidant processes. Therefore, sesamol has been shown to be useful in combating fatty liver disease, inflammation and oxidative stress which, in the long run, could open the doors to cirrhosis.