British researchers report in the Journal of Nutrition that low doses of the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) may lower blood pressure.
Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and is given as 2 numbers, for instance 110 over 70. The top number is systolic blood pressure and represents the maximum pressure exerted when the heart contracts. The bottom number is diastolic blood pressure and represents the pressure in the arteries when the heart is at rest.
High blood pressure is defined as having a systolic and diastolic blood pressure greater than 140/90 mmHg.
To test the effects of the omega-3 fatty acid on blood pressure, researchers recruited 38 middle-aged subjects to randomly receive a 0.7 gram daily dose of DHA, or a placebo.
Researchers report that the DHA supplement raised DHA levels in the blood by 58 percent, and lowered diastolic blood pressure by 3.3 mmHG. No significant difference occurred for systolic blood pressure.
These findings do support previous findings that have linked omega-3 fatty acids may aid cognitive function and protect against heart disease.
Rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, specifically DHA, include cold water fish such as mackerel, salmon, sardines, herring and trout.
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