Another Good Argument for Omega-3
To prove once more that consuming a fish oil supplement had excellent health benefits, researchers from Copenhagen University and the Technical University of Denmark conducted a study among overweight boys to see if omega-3 did help lower blood pressure levels. The intention was to select 78 slightly overweight boys aged between 13 and 15 to see if risk factors could be eliminated.
The boys were fed bread fortified with Omega-3 supplements for a total period of 16 weeks. The findings were as follows:
- The boys' blood pressure was reduced by 3 mmHg after daily Omega 3 fish oil supplements; specifically, EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid);
- If this finding could be applied to adults, the researchers concluded that a 3 mmHg reduction in blood pressure would correspond to more than a 15% reduction of a stroke among adult populations (Source: Journal of Pediatrics)
Medical researchers say that the incidence of blood pressure is likely to continue into adulthood if remedies are not taken. Young people therefore are put in the "pre-hypertensive" class and are likely to suffer from hypertension later in life.
Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
It is a generally accepted fact that consuming oily fish regularly helps to stave off disorders like thrombosis and blood pressure problems. As early as the 1970s, reports have pointed to improvements in the heart rate and n overall vascular function when oily fish is included into the daily diet. The presence of PUFAs (polyunsaturated fatty acids) in omega-3 plays a significant role.
But the EPA and DHA constituents of omega-3 fatty acids have also been proven as not only being beneficial for heart health but also for reducing certain cancers, promoting fetal health during pregnancy, improving joints and helping to regulate behavior and mood.
About the Study
Going back to the 78 adolescents, the researchers found that after 16 weeks of omega-3 supplementation, EPA and DHA levels increased significantly in the red blood cells by 1.2% and 6.7% respectively. Their systolic blood pressure also was decreased by 3.8 mmHg.
As for the boys' cholesterol levels, there were no conclusive findings. The study stated, "In this study, the non- HDL/HDL ratio, which is believed to be a better indicator of risk, was unaffected by the treatment, and thus the net effect appears to be neutral."
As to the relationship between EPA/DHA and arachidonic acid (AA) in inflammation-related eicosanoids, the researchers found that derivatives of arachidonic acid could cause the blood vessels to constrict, thus increasing the likelihood of blood pressure, but the EPA/DHA duo would inhibit or lessen this constriction.
More details about the study can be found in the The Journal of Pediatrics
September 2010, Volume 157, Issue 3. Title of the study: "Effects of Fish Oil Supplementation on Markers of the Metabolic Syndrome"