, Volume 38, Issue 12, pp 1249-1255

Comparative effects of flaxseed and sesame seed on vitamin E and cholesterol levels in rats

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Flaxseed and sesame seed both contain more than 40% fat, about 20% protein, and vitamin E, mostly γ-tocopherol. Furthermore, both contain considerable amounts of plant lignans. However, flaxseed contains 54% α-linolenic acid, but sesame seed only 0.6%, and the chemical structures of flaxseed and sesame lignans are different. In this study, we investigated the differential effects of flaxseed and sesame seed on plasma and tissue γ-tocopherol, TBARS, and cholesterol concentrations. Rats were fed experimental diets for 4 wk: vitamin E-free, (-VE), γ-tocopherol, flaxseed (FS), sesame seed (SS), flaxseed oil (FO), FO with sesamin (FOS), and defatted flaxseed (DFF). SS and FOS diets induced significantly higher γ-tocopherol concentrations in plasma and liver compared with FS, FO, and DFF diets. Groups fed FS, FO, and FOS showed lower plasma total cholesterol compared with the SS and DFF groups. Higher TBARS concentrations in plasma and liver were observed in the FS and FO groups but not in the FOS groups. These results suggest that sesame seed and its lignans induced higher γ-tocopherol and lower TBARS concentrations, whereas flaxseed lignans had no such effects. Further, α-linolenic acid produced strong plasma cholesterol-lowering effects and higher TBARS concentrations.