High levels of omega-3 are associated with lower blood pressure in normotensive young and healthy individuals

 
 
 

Hypertension is an important public health problem. Between blood pressure and cardiovascular risk there is a strong direct association, and this relationship has been identified in both men and women, younger and older adults, different racial and ethnic groups, and different countries.

Primary prevention of hypertension (the actions aimed at avoiding the manifestation of high blood pressure) allows to prevent its complications, and if it is applied early in life provides the greatest probability of avoiding the factors that lead to elevated blood pressure levels. Things that we can do for primary prevention of hypertension include: to do regular aerobic physical activity, maintain normal body weight, limit alcohol consumption, reduce salt intake, maintain adequate intake of potassium (avocado, spinach, potato, dried apricots, etc.), to follow a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, to eat low-fat dairy products, and reduce saturated and total fat.

Studies have shown that: 1) omega-3 fatty acids levels in blood are inversely associated with incidence of elevated blood pressure, 2) supplementation with relatively high doses of omega-3 fatty acids lowers blood pressure in hypertensive people, especially in those with untreated hypertension, and 3) omega-3 fatty acids have blood pressure-lowering effects in elderly people.

Recently, a team of German and Swiss researchers have conducted a study with the aim to determine if higher blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids are correlated with lower blood pressure also in healthy young adults (individuals aged 25 to 41 with normal weight and without other risk factors for high blood pressure, such as diabetes). They found that higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids are significantly associated with lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels in normotensive young and healthy individuals.

This finding is important, because although blood pressure increases with age, hypertension begins early in stages of life. Preventing high blood pressure levels through nutrition, physical activity, and a healthy lifestyle are key in the primary prevention of hypertension. According to the outcomes of this new study, diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids may be a strategy to consider for primary prevention of hypertension.

Bibliography: 

Filipovic MG, Aeschbacher S, Reiner MF, Stivala S, Gobbato S, Bonetti N, et al. Whole blood omega-3 fatty acid concentrations are inversely associated with blood pressure in young, healthy adults. J Hypertens. 2018;36(7):1548-54.

National Institutes of Health. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. National High Blood pressure Education Program. Primary prevention of Hypertension: Clinical and Public Health Advisory from the National High Blood pressure Education Program.

Whelton PK, He J, Appel LJ, Cutler JA, Havas S, Kotchen TA, et al. for the National High Blood pressure Education Program Coordinating Committee. Primary prevention of hypertension: Clinical and public health advisory from the National High Blood pressure Education Program. JAMA. 2002;288:1882-8.

Yang B, Shi MQ, Li ZH, Yang JJ, Li D. Fish, long-chain n-3 PUFA and incidence of elevated blood pressure: a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Nutrients. 2016;8(1).

Filipovic MG, Aeschbacher S, Reiner MF, Stivala S, Gobbato S, Bonetti N, et al. Whole blood omega-3 fatty acid concentrations are inversely associated with blood pressure in young, healthy adults. J Hypertens. 2018;36(7):1548-54.

National Institutes of Health. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. National High Blood pressure Education Program. Primary prevention of Hypertension: Clinical and Public Health Advisory from the National High Blood pressure Education Program.

Whelton PK, He J, Appel LJ, Cutler JA, Havas S, Kotchen TA, et al. for the National High Blood pressure Education Program Coordinating Committee. Primary prevention of hypertension: Clinical and public health advisory from the National High Blood pressure Education Program. JAMA. 2002;288:1882-8.

Yang B, Shi MQ, Li ZH, Yang JJ, Li D. Fish, long-chain n-3 PUFA and incidence of elevated blood pressure: a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Nutrients. 2016;8(1).

 

 
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