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Consumption of Fish Oil Providing Amounts of Eicosapentaenoic Acid and Docosahexaenoic Acid That Can Be Obtained from the Diet Reduces Blood Pressure in Adults with Systolic Hypertension: A Retrospective Analysis

Lookup NU author(s): Professor John Mathers


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Background: Although many randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have examined the effects of the n-3 (omega-3) fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA; 20: 5n-3) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA; 22:6n-3) on blood pressure (BP) and vascular function, the majority have used doses of EPA+DHA of > 3 g/d, which are unlikely to be achieved by dietary manipulation.Objective: The objective was to examine, by using a retrospective analysis from a multicenter RCT, the impact of recommended EPA+DHA intakes achievable through diet on systolic and diastolic BPs and microvascular function in adults in the United Kingdom.Methods: In a double-blind, placebo-controlled RCT, healthy men and women (n = 312) consumed a control oil or fish oil (FO) providing 0.7 or 1.8 g EPA+DHA/d, in random order, each for 8wk. Fasting BP and microvascular function (using laser Doppler iontophoresis) were assessed and plasma collected for the quantification of markers of vascular function. Participants were retrospectively genotyped for the endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) rs1799983 variant.Results: No effects of n-3 fatty acid treatment or any treatment 3 eNOS genotype interactions were evident in the group as a whole for any of the clinical or biochemical outcomes. Assessment of response according to hypertension status at baseline indicated a significant (P = 0.046) FO-induced reduction (mean: 5 mm Hg) in systolic BP, specifically in those with isolated systolic hypertension (n = 31). No dose response was observed.Conclusions: These findings indicate that in adults with isolated systolic hypertension, daily doses of EPA+DHA as low as 0.7 g show clinically meaningful BP reductions, which, at a population level, could be associated with lower cardiovascular disease risk. Confirmation of findings in an RCT in which participants are prospectively recruited on the basis of BP status is required to draw definite conclusions.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Minihane AM, Armah CK, Miles EA, Madden JM, Clark AB, Caslake MJ, Packard CJ, Kofler BM, Lietz G, Curtis PJ, Mathers JC, Williams CM, Calder PC

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Nutrition

Year: 2016

Volume: 146

Issue: 3

Pages: 516-523

Print publication date: 01/03/2016

Online publication date: 27/01/2016

Acceptance date: 17/12/2015

ISSN (print): 0022-3166

ISSN (electronic): 1541-6100

Publisher: American Society for Nutrition


DOI: 10.3945/jn.115.220475


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Funder referenceFunder name
RRD7/N02/AFood Standards Agency, United Kingdom