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Fish oil supplements fight hypertension - review

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By David Liu, PHD

Wednesday Dec 26, 2012 (foodconsumer.org) -- Taking fish oil supplements helps prevent or treat hypertension otherwise known as high blood pressure, which is linked to cardiovascular disease, according to a review in European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

F. Campbell from University of Sheffield in Sheffield, United Kingdom and colleagues conducted the review and found participants with hypertension taking fish oil supplements reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure by up to 2.56 mmHg  and 1.47 mmHg, respectively.  This magnitude of reduction in blood pressure is known to significantly reduce heart risk.

Fish oil full of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)  is known to have anti-inflammatory effects against chronic disease like cardiovascular disease.   Evidence suggests that fish oil protects against cardiovascular disease by lowering blood pressure, according to the authors.

For the review, the authors identified 17 randomized controlled trials and crossover trials of 1524 and participants with o rwithout hypertension and these studies were intended to examine the effectiveness of fish oil supplements in lowering systolic and diastolic blood pressure and participants were followed up for at least eight weeks.  

Data from eight studies in participants with hypertension showed taking fish oil supplements statistically significantly reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure by 2.56 mmHg  and 1.47 mmHg, respectively. 

In addition, nine studies of participants with normal blood pressure showed fish oil supplementation was associated with a non-significant reduction in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
The authors concluded "The small but statistically significant effects of fish-oil supplements in hypertensive participants in this review have important implications for population health and lowering the risk of stroke and ischaemic heart disease."

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