Testing kitchen cures: could sesame oil rid the body of inflammation?

Dr. Sampath Parthasarathy as he conducts research. (WINK News photo)
Dr. Sampath Parthasarathy as he conducts research. (WINK News photo)

Mark Katsnelson has Crohn’s disease, which is a chronic inflammation of the lining of the digestive tract.

The North Naples resident has been living with it for nearly 30 years. It is not like an occasional upset stomach with frequent, urgent trips to the bathroom. It is a disease that changes lives, just like it did for him.

“What I call my new normal now is living with constant discomfort,” Katsnelson said.

Physician points to the area of the problem. (WINK News photo)
Physician points to the area of the problem. (WINK News photo)

The disease has forced Katsnelson to quit his job as a traveling salesperson. He has tried all kinds of treatments, but no diet or medications has made a long-term difference.

Researchers at the University of Central Florida are working on a new treatment.

Dr. Sampath Parthasarathy, of the Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences, said the results of the new treatment are stunning. It focuses on the effects sesame oil compounds have on inflammation in the body.

While Dr. Parthasarathy said sesame oil has been around for thousands of years, it’s only in the last decade that its anti-inflammatory properties have been discovered.

Those in the study who took the sesame material showed an over 50 percent decrease in the major inflammatory markers in Crohn’s disease.

Michael Rohr, a fellow researcher and Ph.D. candidate, said there are significant benefits to the simple solution.

“The great thing about sesame oil extract is that it’s cheap and easy to prepare,” Rohr said. “The side effects are much less compared to the other types of drugs.”

Expensive drugs Katsnelson said he has tried. But after a while, they ceased to continue working.

Katsnelson said he has heard of sesame oil and tried it himself.

“It did not make a difference for me,” Katsnelson said.

Meaning, he did not get the result they are finding in the UCF lab.

So far, these researchers have been testing the oil on mice and other animals. The researchers said they had seen a reduction in inflammation that relates to Crohn’s disease and others that affect the heart.

Given their findings, both the researchers and Katsnelson hope it will bring relief to humans in the near future.

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