3 Grams of Omega-3 Fatty Acids Consumed Daily May Reduce Blood Pressure

Investigators analyze the results of 71 clinical trials from around the world that were published between 1987 and 2020.

Approximately 3 grams of omega-3 fatty acid consumed in food or supplements appear to be the optimal daily dose to help lower blood pressure (BP), according to the results of a research review published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosatetraenoic acid (EPA) are typically found in fatty fish, including herring, oysters, salmon, sardines, trout, and tuna. Individuals also combined both acids in supplements.

The results of previous studies have suggested that omega-3 fatty acids could lower BP, but there has never been an optimal dosage.

“According to our research, the average adult may have a modest blood pressure reduction from consuming about 3 grams a day of these fatty acids,” Xinzhi Li, MD, PhD, assistant professor and program director of the School of Pharmacy at Macau University of Science and Technology in Macau, China, said in a statement.

Investigators analyzed the results of 71 clinical trials from around the world that were published between 1987 and 2020. The studies examined the relationship between BP and the omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA, either combined or individual, in adults, with or without high BP of cholesterol disorders.

There were nearly 5000 individuals included, ranging from aged 22 to 86 years. Individuals took dietary and/or prescription supplement sources of fatty acids for an average of 10 weeks.

Investigators found that, compared with individuals who did not consume DHA or EPA, those who consumed between 2 and 3 grams daily of both acids had reduced diastolic and systolic BP by an average 2 mm Hg.

Additionally, they found that consuming more than 3 grams of smega-3 fatty acids daily may have added BP-lowering benefits for adults with high BP or high blood lipids.

At 3 grams a day, systolic blood pressure decreased an average of 4.5 mm Hg for those with hypertension and about 2 mm for those without. At 5 grams a day, systolic blood pressure declined an average of nearly 4 mm Hg for those with hypertension and less than 1 mm Hg on average for those without.

Further, similar differences were seen in individuals with high blood lipids and among those older than aged 45 years.

“Most of the studies reported on fish oil supplements rather than on EPA and DHA omega-3’s consumed in food, which suggests supplements may be an alternative for those who cannot eat fatty fish such as salmon regularly,” Li said. “Algae supplements with EPA and DHA fatty acids are also an option for people who do not consume fish or other animal products.”

Approximately 4 to 5 ounces of Atlantic salmon provide 3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids and a typical fish oil supplement contains about 300 mg of omega-3 fatty acids per pill.

However, doses vary widely, investigators said.

The FDA said in June 2019 that it did not object to the use of certain health claims that consuming the omega-3 fatty acids in food or supplements may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and hypertension, but the evidence was inconclusive.

Reference

About 3 grams a day of omega-3 fatty acids may lower blood pressure, more research needed. EurekAlert. June 1, 2022. Accessed June 2, 2022. https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/954390