New research suggests that taking fish oil supplements can lower blood pressure.
Fish oil contains two omega-3 fatty acids called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). There is evidence that recommended amounts of DHA and EPA, taken as fish or fish oil supplements, may lower triglycerides and reduce the risk of heart attack, abnormal heartbeat, and stroke in people who have heart disorders. DHA and EPA may also benefit people who have hardening of the arteries or high blood pressure. Similar effects have been found for alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), but more evidence is needed to support its potential benefits.
In a new study, researchers analyzed data from 70 clinical trials to assess the benefits of EPA and DHA supplementation on blood pressure. Systolic blood pressure, the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats, and diastolic blood pressure, the pressure in the arteries between heartbeats, were both measured.
The researchers found that EPA and DHA reduced both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Although blood pressure was also lowered in people with normal blood pressure, the strongest effects of EPA and DHA were seen in people with untreated high blood pressure, with systolic blood pressure reductions of 4.51mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure reductions of 3.05mm Hg.
The authors concluded that overall, the available evidence from clinical trials suggests that EPA and DHA reduce blood pressure.
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