New Delhi, Sept 23: A blend of rice bran oil and sesame oil appears to reduce high blood pressure nearly as well as does a common medication, a preliminary study by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has suggested.
The study has found that people with mild or moderately high blood pressure whose households switched to a blend of rice bran oil and sesame oil for two months showed significant improvements in blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Researchers observed that the systolic blood pressure — the higher number in blood pressure readings — dropped by an average of 14 points in the patients who used the oil blend and 16 points in the patients who used a medication called nefadipine.
“The early results are encouraging, but we need greater scrutiny of the findings,” Ravinder Singh, the study’s co-author and a scientist in the non-communicable diseases division of the ICMR, told The Telegraph.
The 80:20 blend of rice bran oil and sesame oil is not commercially available in India, but was procured from an edible oil company for the study in two government hospitals in the National Capital Region.
Singh’s collaborator, Devarajan Sankar, a scientist at the department of cardiovascular disease at Fukuoka University Chikushi Hospital in Japan, presented the findings at the American Heart Association’s scientific session on Wednesday.
In the clinical study, doctors divided 300 patients with mild to moderately high blood into three groups — one group received nefadipine, another was asked to add ounce of the oil blend into their meals, the third group received the medicine and the blend.
The systolic blood pressure — a measure of the pressure that blood exerts on the walls of blood vessels when the heart pumps — dropped in all three groups.
It fell by an average of 36 points in patients using both the blend and the medicine, 16 points in those using the drug alone, and 14 points in those using the oil blend alone.
The diastolic pressure — which measures the pressure on blood vessels when the heart is at rest between beats — also dropped by 11 points in those consuming the blend alone, 12 points in those who took the drug, and 24 points in those who took both.
“Healthier fatty acids and antioxidants such as sesamin, sesamol, sesamolin, and oryzanol in the oil blends may be responsible for these results,” Sankar said in a statement issued through a media release from the American Heart Association.
Sankar said more studies would be needed to confirm these effects and there are no plans yet to market the blend commercially.
The researchers have also cautioned that patients taking medication for high blood pressure should not try to treat it through any home-made blends of oil.
“If the medical community is convinced that such a blend is helpful and necessary, we can manufacture it,” said Biprabuddha Chatterjee, head of research and development with the edible oil company that supplied the blend for the study