ORLANDO, Florida – Prices for most name-brand prescription drugs have risen 208% from 2008 to 2016.
That is causing up to one in five people to either skip their much-needed medication or cut it in half to reduce costs.
But now researchers are looking towards a cheaper and more natural alternative starting with heart disease treatments.
One in four deaths in the U.S. is due to heart disease.
This study used mice treated with sesame oil. The results are promising.
"The extent to which sesame oil prevented atherosclerosis was over 80% and it was stunning because even the best pharmaceutical agents do not go that far," explained Sampath Parthasarathy, a Cardiovascular professor at Florida Central University.
Atherosclerosis, or the build-up of plaque in the artery walls, is usually caused by high cholesterol and chronic inflammation.
Current drug treatments, like statins, only treat the high cholesterol. The anti-inflammatory benefit of sesame also opens it up to treat other diseases.
"Inflammation is the basis for many chronic diseases, arthritis, Crohn's disease, even Alzheimer's," said Parthasarathy.
This has led to a clinical trial for those suffering with Crohn's disease, possibly providing a less harsh and cheaper alternative to medications, like Humira.
NEW TECHNOLOGY: Dr. Sampath Parthasarathy has been researching the health benefits of sesame oil, saying a lot of the components that make up the oil are derived from sesaneol which is in a lot of medicine. The studies that have been conducted have been on mice and other animals, and they have positive results. Researchers are very hopeful, but they need to look at additional factors.
"Each injection is about is about five to ten thousand dollars," said University of Central Florida researcher Michael Rohr.
"The great thing about sesame oil extract is that it's cheap and easy to prepare and the side effects are much less compared to the other types of drugs," he added.
"So if kitchen is beneficial, some day you may not even need to go to the clinic," according to Parthasarathy. "From the kitchen to the clinic that is my message."
The researchers are currently recruiting for the Crohn's trial and expect to have it up and running in early 2019. Participants must be between 18 and 75 and not have a nut allergy.
For more information about the clinical trial, call (407) 266-7120.