Many trials show that high dose fish oils (above 3g per day) can lower blood pressure, but latest research suggests that lower doses of fish oil, which are easily achieved by eating more fish, are also worthwhile.
Fish oil lowers blood pressure
Over 300 volunteers were asked to take a fish oil that provided either 0.7g or 1.8g of the long-chain omega-3s (EPA and DHA), or a control oil, during three separate periods of 8 weeks, with a washout period in-between. This showed the effect of each dose of fish oil on each person’s blood pressure readings, compared to the control oil.
In those with systolic hypertension (upper reading greater than 140mmHg), daily doses of 0.7 g EPA+DHA lowered their blood pressure by 5mmHg – enough to reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke by 20%. There were no significant changes in diastolic blood pressure (the lower reading) however.
How does fish oil lower blood pressure?
The long-chain omega-3s, EPA and DHA, are though to increase the production of signalling molecules that have beneficial effects on heart rate, heart work load and arterial dilation. DHA appears to be more important for heart health than EPA. This study, for example, used a fish oil that supplied DHA:EPA in a ratio of 1.4to 1 – roughly the same as is naturally found in marine sourced fish oils.
While DHA and EPA enriched fish oils, and algae extracts, are available in supplement form, you can obtain this lower level of EPA and DHA by eating two or three portions of oily fish per week, such as mackerel, herring, salmon, trout, sardines, pilchards, fresh tuna (not tinned), as shown in the table below.
Other sources of omega-3s (some of which are converted into EPA + DHA in the body) include wild game meat such as venison and buffalo, grass-fed beef and omega-3 enriched eggs.
For more information on how fish oils can lower your blood pressure, visit omega-3 fish oil.
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