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This Is How Much Omega-3 Fatty Acids You Need To Cut Blood Pressure, According to New Study

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Fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna, sardines, trout, herring, and oysters, are high in omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).

Some people also take pills that combine DHA and EPA. While some research suggests that omega-3 fatty acid consumption can help decrease blood pressure, the appropriate dosage for this has yet to be determined.

The National Institutes of Health recommends 1.1-1.6 grams of omega-3 fatty acids per day for healthy persons, depending on age and gender.

A new study published today says “consuming about 3 grams of these fatty acids a day may lead in a modest reduction in blood pressure in the average adult,” according to study author Xinzhi Li.

Researchers looked at the findings of 71 clinical trials published around the world between 1987 and 2020. People aged 18 and older with or without high blood pressure or cholesterol problems were included in the research to see if the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA (either individually or together) had any effect on blood pressure. The total number of participants was approximately 5,000, with ages ranging from 22 to 86. For an average of 10 weeks, participants took dietary and/or pharmaceutical fatty acid supplements.

According to the findings of this report:

  • Adults who ingested between 2 and 3 grams daily of combined DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids (in supplements, food, or both) had lower systolic (top number) and diastolic (bottom number) blood pressure by an average of 2 mm Hg compared to those who did not.
  • For adults with high blood pressure or high blood lipids, consuming more than 3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids daily may provide additional blood pressure-lowering benefits.
  • SBP dropped an average of 4.5 mm Hg in individuals with hypertension and roughly 2 mm Hg in those without hypertension after taking 3g of omega-3s per day.
  • SBP dropped approximately 4 mm Hg on average for those with hypertension and less than 1 mm Hg on average for those without hypertension after taking 5 grams of omega-3s per day.
  • People with elevated blood lipids and those beyond the age of 45 showed similar disparities.

3 grams of omega 3 fatty acids can be found in 4-5 ounces of Atlantic salmon. A typical fish oil supplement has about 300 mg of omega-3s per pill, but the amount in each pill can be very different.

“Most of the studies reported on fish oil supplements rather than on EPA and DHA omega-3’s consumed in food,” according to Li, “which suggests supplements may be an alternative for those who cannot eat fatty fish such as salmon regularly.

“Algae supplements with EPA and DHA fatty acids are also an option for people who do not consume fish or other animal products.”

In June 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said that it did not object to the use of certain health claims that eating foods or supplements with EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids may lower the risk of high blood pressure and coronary heart disease. They did, however, point out that the evidence was inconclusive and inconsistent.

This new research “supports the FDA guidance that EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by lowering high blood pressure, especially among people already diagnosed with hypertension.”

But “while our study may add a layer of credible evidence, it does not meet the threshold to make an authorized health claim for omega-3 fatty acids in compliance with FDA regulations.”

The review’s limitations include discrepancies in how blood pressure was evaluated and whether the studies looked at omega-3 intake from supplements or diet, both of which could alter the conclusions’ robustness.

As part of a heart-healthy diet, the American Heart Association recommends eating two servings (3-4 ounces cooked) of fish each week (especially fatty fish like salmon).

Image Credit: Getty

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