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People with high blood pressure who take fish oil 14% less likely to die early from heart issues

People with high blood pressure who used fish oil had a significantly lower risk of diabetes, coronary heart disease, and early death from any cause, according to a study reported in the European Journal of Nutrition on May 19, 2022.1

The study included data from 81,579 men and women who had hypertension (high blood pressure) but did not have other cardiometabolic disease (i.e., diabetes, coronary heart disease and stroke), who were followed for a median of 12.23 years. Information was obtained from the UK Biobank, a large population database of selected health information of more than 500,000 adults aged 40-69 years.  

Researchers determined that the risk of developing cardiometabolic diseases was 8% lower and the risk of mortality from all causes was 10% lower in individuals using fish oil at the beginning of the study compared to those who did not use fish oil. In comparison with non-users, the risk of dying from heart-related causes was 14% lower among people who reported using fish oil.

In their discussion of the findings, authors Tianqi Ma and colleagues at Central South University in China concluded that the study’s results suggest a protective role for fish oil against the progression of cardiometabolic diseases and in the prognosis of individuals with high blood pressure.

 “Hypertension, the most prevalent chronic disease and major risk factor for coronary heart disease, stroke, and chronic kidney disease, contributes to common comorbidities worldwide,” the authors remarked. “Even though the associations seemed moderate, the use of fish oil might benefit public health greatly, based on the increasing disease burden of hypertension.”

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Apply What You've Learned: Fish oil and omega-3s

  • While some fatty acids are made in the body, we get omega-3 fatty acids primarily through diet. Fatty fish, like salmon, and fish oil are excellent sources of the essential omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These fatty acids are often referred to as marine omega-3s.2
  • Marine omega-3 acids may help enhance cardiovascular health overall by improving blood pressure, blood vessel health, inflammatory response and cholesterol levels.3-6
  • Fish oil not only supports cardiovascular and metabolic health, it also has been shown to support brain health and a healthy mood.7,8
  • Look for a fish oil or omega-3 that has received a high rating for purity, quality and concentration.

References

  1. Ma T et al. Eur J Nutr. 2022 May 19;1-10.
  2. “Omega-3 Fatty Acids: An Essential Contribution.” The Nutrition Source. Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/fats-and-cholesterol/types-of-fat/omega-3-fats/
  3. Tousoulis D et al. Atherosclerosis. 2014 Jan;232(1):10-6.
  4. Zehr KR et al. Prostaglandins Other Lipid Mediat. 2018 Jan;134:131-140.
  5. Miller PE et al. Am J Hypertens. 2014 Jul;27(7):885-96.
  6. O’Mahoney LL et al. Cardiovasc Diabetol. 2018 Jul 7;17(1):98.
  7. Derbyshire E. Nutrients. 2018 Aug 15;10(8):1094.
  8. Bae JH et al. Nutr Res. 2018 Feb;50:1-9.

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