Dr. Devarajan Sankar, a research scientist in the Department of Cardiovascular Diseaseat Fukuoka University Chikushi Hospital in Chikushino, Japan, said rice bran oil, like sesame oil, is low in saturated fat and appears to improve a patient's cholesterol profile.
The study involved 300 equal men and women in New Delhi average age 57 with mild to moderately high blood pressure who were divided into three groups.
One group was treated with the blood pressure lowering medication calcium-channel blocker, or nifedipine. The second group was given 1 ounce of oil blend and told to use it each day in their meals. The third group received the calcium channel blocker and the oil blend.
Systolic blood pressure dropped an average of 14 points for those using only the oil blend and 16 points for those taking medication, but those using both oil blend and medication saw a 36-point drop.
Diastolic blood pressure -- the bottom number -- also dropped significantly: 11 points for those eating the oil, 12 for those on medication and 24 for those using both.
Those using the oils saw a 26 percent drop in their low-density lipoprotein, the "bad," cholesterol and a 9.5 percent increase in the high-density lipoprotein, the "good" cholesterol. There were no changes in cholesterol for those taking the medication and those taking both had a 27 percent drop in LDL levels and a 10.9 percent increase in the HDL.
The findings were presented at the American Heart Association's High Blood Pressure Research Scientific Sessions in Washington.