News article

Meta-Analysis Finds Omega-3s Equal Lifestyle Changes For Blood Pressure Benefits

Posted:  Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for maintaining a healthy body. However, the body can’t produce fatty acids and it needs to consume it externally in the form of omega-3 supplements and omega 3 rich foods such as salmon, tuna, krill and other sea foods like algae, and certain plants and nut oils.

Omega 3 fatty acid is also known as polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), they play an important role in brain function as well as normal growth and development. In other words, consuming omega-3 supplements or omega- 3 rich foods could be as effective as cutting down on your salt intake and alcohol combined with exercise. They help in reducing blood pressure and inflammation, which lower the risk of heart diseases, cancer and arthritis.

A new meta-analysis of 70 randomised controlled trials showed the link between the consumption of omega-3 supplements and omega 3 rich foods and blood pressure benefits. Compared with placebo, consumption of EPA and DHA omega-3s was associated with an average 1.52 mmHg and 0.99 mmHg reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, respectively, according to data published in the American Journal of Hypertension.

The cardiovascular and blood pressure benefits were found to be greater with consumption of omega-3 supplements and omega 3 rich foods especially, for untreated hypertensive subjects. These participants experienced average reductions of systolic and diastolic blood pressure of 4.51 mmHg and 3.05 mmHg, respectively. These results were not restricted to just hypertensive subjects but, also those who were normotensive subjects and experienced beneficial reductions of 1.25 mmHg and 0.62 mmHg reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, respectively.

“When measuring blood pressure, even small reductions can have a significant clinical impact,” said Dominik Alexander, PhD, from Exponent, Inc, and senior author of the study. According to Stamler, et. al., each 2 mm Hg reduction reduces stroke mortality by 6%, coronary heart disease mortality by 4% and total mortality by 3%.

In another study, conducted by Dr Alexander and his co-authors from Exponent Inc. and Van Elswyk Consulting, Inc. found that EPA and DHA from omega 3 supplements and omega 3 rich foods hand a positive impact on reduction of blood pressure.

“Lowered systemic vascular resistance through changes in endothelial function is considered a primary mechanism by which EPA+DHA may lower blood pressure,” said the researchers.

Along with having blood pressure benefits the consumption of fatty fish such as mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna, and salmon twice a week can further aid in maintaining good cardiovascular health along with regular exercise. As omega 3 fatty acids are mainly concentrated in the brain, and therefore it’s important for cognitive and behavioural function. Babies who don’t get the adequate amount of omega-3 rich food and supplements from their mothers are likely to develop vision and nerve problems.

So, consuming the adequate amount of omega-3 rich foods and omega-3 supplements can help maintain over body and bone health.