A study published online today shows that the omega-3 fatty acids EPA
and DHA - commonly found in fatty fish and fish oil supplements - are as
effective, if not more effective, in lowering blood pressure as some of
the commonly recommended lifestyle changes like increasing physical
activity and restricting alcohol and sodium intake.1 The
findings, released by the American
Journal of Hypertension, are good news, especially for those
with elevated blood pressure- estimated to be approximately 60 percent
of the U.S. adult population. 2 3
"Results from this study build on a wealth of prior data indicating that
EPA+DHA intake reduced the risk of cardiovascular events," said Adam
Ismail, executive director of the Global Organization for EPA and DHA
Omega-3s (GOED). "It is now well-established that EPA and DHA reduce
triglycerides and blood pressure and even highly critical meta-analyses
have found that they reduce cardiac death risk by 9 percent."4
The study, a comprehensive meta-analysis, examined 70 randomized
controlled trials, or RCTs, conducted with adults who were given EPA+DHA
omega-3s from seafood, fortified foods, or dietary supplements. The
study included trials with subjects with normal blood pressure and those
with hypertension but not taking blood pressure-lowering medications.
The most significant effects were observed in subjects with existing
high blood pressure. Among those with high blood pressure, the average
decrease in systolic blood pressure (SBP) was 4.51 mm Hg and diastolic
blood pressure (DBP) was reduced by an average 3.05 mm Hg. Additional
OMEGA-3 BENEFITS OUTWEIGH OTHER LIFESTYLE CHANGES
The findings were made even more dramatic when compared with reductions
achieved through commonly recommended lifestyle changes, as indicated in
the chart below.
Blood Pressure Reduction*
2.5 mm Hg6
* Values represent average reductions in systolic blood
pressure (SBP) as effects of various lifestyle interventions and
omega-3 consumption in untreated hypertensives
SMALL STEPS, MEANINGFUL RESULTS
"When measuring blood pressure, even small reductions can have a
significant clinical impact," said Dominik D. Alexander, PhD, MSPH,
senior author of the study. According to Stamler, et. al., each 2 mm Hg
reduction reduces stroke mortality by 6 percent, coronary heart disease
mortality by 4 percent and total mortality by 3 percent.7
Alexander noted that a decrease in SBP of 1.25 mm Hg could prevent a
pre-hypertensive from becoming hypertensive. "A decrease of 4.51 mm Hg
in SBP among those with high blood pressure could help an individual
avoid having to take medication to control blood pressure levels," he
The study was funded by GOED, which has submitted an authorized health
claim petition to the FDA based on these results.
About GOED: GOED is an association of the
world's finest processors, refiners, manufacturers, distributors,
marketers, retailers and supporters of products containing
Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) omega-3 fatty
acids. The organization's objectives are to promote and protect the
category, educate consumers about the health benefits of EPA/DHA, and
work with government groups, the healthcare community and the industry,
while setting high standards for its business sector. GOED and its
members are committed to personal integrity, ethical corporate behavior,
public safety and quality assurance. For more information, visit www.goedomega3.com.
1 Miller, et. al. Am J Hypertension, first published
online March 7, 2014
2 CDC, MMWR 2011; 60:103-8.
3 Roger VL, et al., Circulation 2012; 125:e2-e220.
4 Rizos EC, et al., JAMA 2012; 308:1024-33.
5 Kwak SM, et al., Arch Intern Med 2012; 172:686-94.
6 Dickinson, HO, et. al., Journal of Hypertension 2006;
7 Stamler R. Hypertension. 1991; 17:I16-20.
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