Sesame Seed Extract

Sesame (Sesamum indicum) seeds are one of the two best food sources of lignans. Lignans are a category of polyphenols, and like other polyphenols are broadly described as antioxidants. Lignans are metabolized by the gut microflora. During this process, both the lignans and gut microflora are changed. As a general rule of thumb, lignans shape the populations of gut microbiota, and as a result, may influence the gut-brain axis. Sesame seeds are also a source for tocopherols and tocotrienols, the class of compounds with vitamin E activity. Sesame lignans, both individually and in combination, influence a range of biological functions. While sesame seeds have about 16 different lignans, the one that has received the most research is sesamin. In animal studies, sesamin has been neuroprotective and supports molecules like BDNF, which is involved in nervous system repair and growth. It has also countered changes in behavior caused by stress, positively influenced both cardiovascular and liver health, and supported healthy aging functions. Some of these findings have been replicated in human studies [1–3].*


Supports cognitive function*

Supports healthy stress responses*

Supports antioxidant defenses*

Supports the gut microbiota*


Sesame seed extract is standardized to contain not less than 10% sesamin, since this is the lignan that has been the subject of the majority of research, including human studies.

Sesame seed extract is Non-GMO and Vegan.


Sesamin, a lignan found in sesame seeds, is the most studied compound found in sesame seeds. When we include sesame seed extract in a formulation, we are doing so keeping in mind the amount of sesamin that will be provided. In human cognitive studies, sesamin has typically been given at a serving of 10 mg daily, though in some cases, it has been 10 mg of several of the lignans together. In general, we think of polyphenolic compounds—lignans fall within this category of secondary plant metabolites—as being hormetic; something that in low to moderate amounts helps promote an adaptive response to stress, but which might not be as beneficial at very high amounts especially if taken long-term (see Qualia Dosing Principles). Our goal with sesame seed extract (and sesamin), as with all ingredient choices, is to select the appropriate serving keeping in mind both the ingredient and the other ingredients being used in a formulation. In other words, if we are also supplying other extracts with complementary polyphenols such as other ingredients that include lignans, we are likely to use less than if the only lignan-containing ingredient we were using was sesame seed extract.*


Supports brain function*

Supports learning and memory (in animals)* [4–9]

Supports serotonin signaling* [10]

Supports noradrenaline signaling* [10]

Supports acetylcholine signaling* [5]

Supports brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)* [5,6,8]

Supports brain mitochondrial function* [6]

Supports neuroprotective functions* [5,9,11–16]

Supports auditory function* [17]

Supports blood-barrier function* [18]

Supports healthy stress responses*

Supports healthy behavioral and physiological responses to stress* [7,8,10,19–22]

Supports antioxidant defenses*

Supports antioxidant defenses* [7,13]

Supports the Nrf2 signaling pathway and phase II antioxidant enzymes* [7,23]

Counters ROS production and oxidative stress* [2,13,15,24]

Supports a healthy gut microbiota*

Supports a healthy composition of the gut microbiota* [10,24]

Supports intestinal barrier function* [10]

Supports GI Nrf2 signaling* [23]

Supports a healthy immune system*

Supports general immune health* [25]

Supports adaptive immunity* [26,27]

Supports immune system communication* [28–31]

Supports healthy aging and longevity*

Supports skin photoprotective functions* [32,33] 

Supports liver function* [13,34]

Supports healthy metabolic function* [6,35–37]

Supports cardiovascular health* [35,38–41] 

Supports mitochondrial function* [7,42]

Supports autophagy* [43,44]

Complementary ingredients*

Astaxanthin in supporting cognitive function* [45] and recovery from mental fatigue* [46]

Schisandra chinensis—another source of lignans—to support liver health* [47] and blood fluidity* [48]

Quercetin to support neuroprotective functions* [49,50]

Vitamin E to support as an antioxidant and to support sleep and counter fatigue* [51]

Vitamin E for immune support* [52]

Dietary sesame seed and sesamin enhance vitamin K* [53] and vitamin E status* [53–57]

Dietary supplementation of sesamin supports essential fatty acid metabolism and status* [58–62]

Lipoic acid to support fatty acid metabolism* 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


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