(NaturalNews) New research confirms what scores of earlier studies have found, that it's possible to lower your blood pressure with omega-3 fatty acids.
A randomized, controlled study by researchers at the Department of Medicine, Maulana Azad Medical College and Lok Nayak Hospital, New Delhi, involving 100 patients who had been diagnosed with high blood pressure, found that low doses of the omega-3 fatty acids, in conjunction with a reduction of omega-6 fatty acids, could help to reduce the effects of hypertension.
"Subjects were further screened for fasting hyperinsulinemia, of whom 20 patients with hyperinsulinemia underwent four weeks of dietary control followed by six weeks of either 0.6 omega-3 g/d (group 1) or 1.2 omega-3 g/d (group 2) daily," said a summary of the study. "At the end of four weeks of diet control phase, no significant change was observed. However, after omega-3 administration, both treatment groups experienced varying but significant reduction of fasting plasma insulin levels, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, serum cholesterol, triglycerides and low density lipoprotein."
The results "suggest that low dose omega-3 fatty acid intake," along with cutting back on omega-6 fatty acids, "may be effective in the management" of high blood pressure, the summary said.
Several studies continue to show the benefits of omega-3
For years, studies have either suggested or confirmed that omega-3 fatty acids, most commonly found in fish, nuts and seeds, can lower blood pressure levels or help prevent them from rising.
"A large percentage of people between ages 20 and 60 have a rise in blood pressure, and by middle age many have high blood pressure," said Dr. Jeremiah Stamler, professor emeritus of preventive medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago, in discussing the results of his 2007 study with Reuters.
"We're looking at dietary factors that may help prevent that rise, and omega-3 fatty acids are a small, but important piece of the action," he said.
That study examined diet and its relationship to blood pressure in 4,680 men and women ages 40-59, who lived in Japan, China, Britain and the U.S.
After participants provided researchers with details about their diets and alcohol consumption, they gave urine samples and had their BP measured twice at each of four study visits. The research team then adjusted for 17 variables that are known to influence blood pressure such as age, gender, weight, exercise and salt intake.
The results, which were published in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation, found that people who ate diets loaded with omega-3 fatty acids had slightly lower blood pressure on average than those who ate less omega-3.
"With blood pressure, every millimeter counts. The effect of each nutrient is apparently small but independent, so together they can add up to a substantial impact on blood pressure," Dr. Hirotsugu Ueshima of Shiga University of Medical Science in Otsu, Japan, said in a statement.
"If you can reduce blood pressure a few millimeters from eating less salt, losing a few pounds, avoiding heavy drinking, eating more vegetables, whole grains and fruits (for their fiber, minerals, vegetable protein and other nutrients) and getting more omega-3 fatty acids, then you've made a big difference," Ueshima said.
More to it than just blood pressure reduction
Research and studies conducted by the University of Maryland Medical Center went even further. Noting that omega-3 is "an essential fatty acid," the ingredient reduces "inflammation and may help lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis," the university said.
"It is important to have the proper ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 (another essential fatty acid) in the diet. Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation, and most omega-6 fatty acids tend to promote inflammation. The typical American diet tends to contain 14-25 times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids, which many nutritionally oriented physicians consider to be way too high on the omega-6 side," said the university, on its website.