Sesame ingestion has been shown to improve blood lipids in humans and antioxidative ability in animals. Sesamin, a sesame lignan, was recently reported to be converted by intestinal microflora to enterolactone, a compound with estrogenic activity and also an enterometabolite of flaxseed lignans, which are known to be phytoestrogens. Whether sesame can be a source of phytoestrogens is unknown. This study was designed to investigate the effect of sesame ingestion on blood sex hormones, lipids, tocopherol, and ex vivo LDL oxidation in postmenopausal women. Twenty-six healthy subjects attended, and 24 completed, this randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover study. Half of them consumed 50 g sesame seed powder daily for 5 wk, followed by a 3-wk washout period, then a 5-wk 50-g rice powder placebo period. The other half received the 2 supplements in reverse order. After sesame treatment, plasma total cholesterol (TC), LDL-C, the ratio of LDL-C to HDL-C, thiobarbituric acid reactive substances in oxidized LDL, and serum dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate decreased significantly by 5, 10, 6, 23, and 18%, respectively. The ratio of alpha- and gamma-tocopherol to TC increased significantly by 18 and 73%, respectively. All of these variables differed significantly between the 2 treatments. Serum sex hormone-binding globulin and urinary 2-hydroxyestrone (n = 8) increased significantly by 15 and 72%, respectively, after sesame treatment, and these concentrations tended to differ (P = 0.065 and P = 0.090, respectively) from those after the placebo treatment. These results suggest that sesame ingestion benefits postmenopausal women by improving blood lipids, antioxidant status, and possibly sex hormone status.