Sesame Waste Product Beats Alzheimer's Drugs in Clinical Trial

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For over 20 years and billions of dollars, pharmaceutical companies have fruitlessly tried to develop an Alzheimer's drug. Meanwhile, a solution was lying in waste piles all along

Alzheimer's disease continues to confound doctors and researchers alike, with no truly effective treatments discovered yet. However, a new study shows promise for a shockingly simple approach - an extract from sesame oil manufacturing waste.

 In the study, researchers tested whether taking 1.5 grams per day of sesame oil cake extract (SOCE) capsules could improve memory and markers of Alzheimer's in older adults experiencing memory problems. 70 participants took either SOCE or a placebo every day for 12 weeks.1

Remarkably, the SOCE group showed significant improvements in verbal learning and memory compared to those taking the placebo. Tests also revealed decreased levels of amyloid beta proteins in the blood, which are hallmark signs of Alzheimer's development.2  

This is the first ever human trial demonstrating that SOCE could benefit cognitive function and underlying Alzheimer's processes.3 But why does this discarded byproduct, which contains antioxidant compounds called sesaminols from the fiber of sesame seeds,4 seem to work better than the myriad Alzheimer's drugs that have failed?

Researchers believe the sesaminols in SOCE protect brain cells and block amyloid beta proteins from destroying neurons.5 Basically, it counteracts some root causes of Alzheimer's from multiple angles.

With pharmaceutical companies struggling to design complex synthetic chemicals to fight Alzheimer's, it's surprising that a simple, natural waste product largely ignored up until now could offer more hope. According to the natural medicine database, there are over 1900 study abstracts covering over 400 natural substances that may have some benefit in preventing or treating Alzheimer's disease.6 Additionally, the database contains research highlighting the neuroprotective effects of natural compounds in sesame seeds.7

The fact that SOCE also caused no major side effects makes it an especially attractive option. While more studies are still needed, SOCE ultimately has the potential to be made widely available as an inexpensive supplement to prevent Alzheimer's.8  One may also assume that including sesame seeds in the daily diet may have some neuroprotective and ameliorative properties in those with cognitive disorders or conditions like Alzheimer's disease. After all, food is medicine, and an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. 

This research redirects attention to the preventative possibilities offered by nutrition and nature. Sometimes the solutions to health problems don't need to be so complicated after all. In the case of this devastating disease especially, older findings on diet and exercise benefiting brain health appear more relevant than ever.9

To learn more about the benefits of seasame seeds, visit the GreenMedInfo database on the subject here


1. Jung SJ, et al. Nutrients. 2021;13(8):2606.  

2. Jung SJ, et al. Nutrients. 2021;13(8):2606.

3. Jung SJ, et al. Nutrients. 2021;13(8):2606.  

4. Katsuzaki H, et al. Phytochemistry. 1994;35(4):773-6.

5. Um MY, et al. Biol Pharm Bull. 2009;32(9):1516-20.

6. Alzheimer's disease database.

7. Sesame seed database.  

8. Jung SJ, et al. Nutrients. 2021;13(8):2606.

9. Solfrizzi V, et al. J Alzheimers Dis. 2017;59(3):815-849.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.

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