Lipid Lowering Effects of Black Seed
Cholesterol is a lipid molecule vital for life. It is required to build the membrane of each cell in our bodies and also for the synthesis of vitamin D and a number of very important hormones.
Hypercholesterolemia is a condition in which blood cholesterol level is elevated, it is a common condition, for example it affects 13% of Americans [i]. A number of risk factors can cause hypercholesterolemia including high fat diet, sedentary lifestyle and genetics. Hypercholesterolemia is itself a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. There are a number of trials which have shown the benefit of using black seed oil for high cholesterol.
Black seed oil (Nigella sativa) has been found to have a beneficial effect on blood lipids, reducing cholesterol and low density lipoprotein and, increasing beneficial high density low density lipoprotein.
Black seed for high cholesterol: review of evidence
We will look at four recent trials putting the lipid lowering effects of Nigella sativa to the test.
Study 1 – The Effects of 8-week Nigella sativa Supplementation and Aerobic Training on Lipid Profile and VO2 max in Sedentary Overweight Females. [ii]
This study examined the effect 2g of crushed Nigella sativa (daily) in combination with an aerobic training program (3 times/week) on lipid profile in sedentary overweight females. The control group took a placebo and participated in the training programme. The trial ran for 8 weeks. Blood lipids in addition to maximal oxygen consumption (VO2 max) were determined at baseline and at the end of the trial.
The results showed that taking daily crushed black seed had and increased reduction in total cholesterol, triglyceride, low-density lipoprotein and body mass index compared to those taking placebo.
Conclusions: 8-week aerobic training plus Nigella sativa supplementation has a synergistic effect in improving profile lipid parameters.
Study 2 – Favourable impact of Nigella sativa seeds on lipid profile in type 2 diabetic patients. [iii]
This study sought to assess the impact of Nigella sativa seeds on lipid profile in type 2 diabetic patients. A total of 94 patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus were recruited and divided into 3 dose groups. Capsules containing Nigella sativa seeds were administered orally in a dose of 1, 2, and 3 g/day for 12 weeks.
All patients underwent measurement of blood total cholesterol, triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein at baseline and 4, 8, and 12 weeks.
The results showed a significant reduction in total cholesterol, triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein in patients taking 2 and 3g of black seed per day. Additionally these groups showed a significant elevation in protective high-density lipoprotein.
Conclusions: Nigella sativa is a potential protective agent against atherosclerosis and cardiovascular complications in patients with diabetes mellitus type 2.
Study 3 – Clinical evaluation of Nigella sativa seeds for the treatment of hyperlipidemia: a randomized, placebo controlled clinical trial. [iv]
In this trial participants with elevated total cholesterol concentration (>200 mg/dl) were randomised to receive either 2 g of crushed Nigella sativa seeds per day or placebo. The trial ran for 4 weeks and a total of 88 subjects participated.
Fasting baseline blood tests (blood sugar, total cholesterol, low density lipoprotein, high density lipoprotein and triglyceride) were obtained for all parameters on each subject prior to the start of the study and at the end of 4 weeks.
Conclusions: A significant decrease in the concentration of total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein and triglyceride levels was achieved by taking Nigella sativa.
Study 4 – Effect of Nigella sativa oil on various clinical and biochemical parameters of insulin resistance syndrome. [v]
This study examined black seed oil as an add-on therapy for treating insulin resistance and hypercholesterolemia. Two groups of 30 patients were enrolled. Group 1 received atorvastatin 10 mg (cholesterol lowering medication) once daily and metformin 500mg (anti-diabetic medication) twice daily. Group 2 were given the same medications as group 1 and in addition, black seed oil 2.5 ml twice daily. The study ran for total of 6 weeks.
Fasting and postprandial (after food) blood glucose, fasting lipid profile, and waist circumference were all recorded before therapy and after completion of therapy.
The treatment group 2 showed significant improvement in total cholesterol, low density lipoprotein cholesterol and fasting blood glucose compared to group 1.
Conclusions: Nigella sativa oil has a significant activity in diabetic and dyslipidemic patients and is effective as an add-on therapy.
In summary… black seed oil is beneficial for lowering high cholesterol
Nigella sativa seed and its oil has been used to fight disease and maintain health for centuries. Today this amazing plant is the focus of much research.
In summary we have looked at four recent trials investigating the effect of Nigella on various biochemical parameters of hypercholesterolemia in different groups of patients. All the studies have shown beneficial effects confirming what is already known about this amazing herb.
[i] Carrol, Margaret. “Total and High-density Lipoprotein Cholesterol in Adults: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2009–2010”. CDC April 2012.
[ii] Farzaneh E, et al. The Effects of 8-week Nigella sativa Supplementation and Aerobic Training on Lipid Profile and VO2 max in Sedentary Overweight Females. Int J Prev Med. 2014 Feb;5(2):210-6.
[iii] Kaatabi H, et al. Favorable impact of Nigella sativa seeds on lipid profile in type 2 diabetic patients. J Family Community Med. 2012 Sep;19(3):155-61.
[iv] Sabzghabaee AM, et al. Clinical evaluation of Nigella sativa seeds for the treatment of hyperlipidemia: a randomized, placebo controlled clinical trial. Med Arh. 2012;66(3):198-200.
[v] Ahmad N, et al. Effect of Nigella sativa oil on various clinical and biochemical parameters of insulin resistance syndrome. Int J Diabetes Dev Ctries. 2008 Jan-Mar; 28(1): 11–14.