The study, conducted by researchers from Harokopio University and Laiko Hospital in Athens, Greece, and published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that subjects on a diet fortified with flaxseed oil experienced reduced blood pressure by as much as 6 percent.
The researchers tested a group of 59 middle-aged males with high blood-lipid concentrations, the average age of whom was 53 years. The men were divided into two groups at random and placed on two different diets.
The first study group was assigned a diet fortified with 8 grams per day of omega-3, ALA-rich flaxseed oil.
The second group was placed on a diet fortified with omega-6, linoleic acid-rich safflower oil.
“Our results indicate that increased ALA intake can bring about a significant decrease in SBP (systolic blood pressure) and DBP (diastolic blood pressure) by approximately 5 mmHg or three to 6 percent,” said researchers.
According to researchers, the group of men prescribed the omega-6, linoleic acid-fortified diet experienced no significant decrease in blood pressure.
The study’s lead author, George Paschos, was quick to point out that the reasons behind the effectiveness of ALA in lowering blood pressure are unclear.
Additionally, the study’s authors point out that the 8 grams of flaxseed oil supplied by the study per day is not readily available to consumers in everyday foods.
“However, several products like cooking oil, margarine, salad dressing and mayonnaise fortified with ALA can be produced by the industry, and inclusion of these foods in the diet has been shown to substantially increase dietary ALA intake to levels exceeding those used in the present study,” said Paschos. “Hence we believe our results could be applicable in practice.”