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Omega 3 Vitamins: Can They Lower Blood Pressure?

Omega 3 Vitamins: Can They Lower Blood Pressure?

A quick browse online for supplements and you’ll probably come across omega 3 vitamins. Now, if you want to have a healthier heart, it’s likely you’ll take interest in them. After all, many brands claim that omega 3 supplements promote cardiovascular health. But are these claims true? Are omega 3 vitamins good for people with heart problems, such as hypertension? Find out here.

What are Omega 3 Vitamins?

When we talk about omega 3 vitamins, we actually refer to supplements as omega 3 fatty acids are not really vitamins.

Omega 3 fatty acids, or simply omega-3s, are a form of polyunsaturated fats crucial for many bodily functions, from muscle activity to cell growth.

There are three main omega-3s: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).ALA is abundant in plant oils while EPA and DHA can be found in fish and other seafood.

Please keep in mind that our bodies cannot manufacture omega-3s, so we must get them from our

.

Are Omega-3s Good for the Heart?

Given their importance to the body, is it true that omega 3 vitamins are good for cardiovascular health?

Let’s look into what the experts say:

  • Consuming seafood once to four times a week reduces the risk of dying from heart disease. However, studies suggest that taking omega-3 vitamins DO NOT reduce cardiovascular disease risk¹.
  • Omega-3s appear to reduce triglyceride levels. Evidence also suggests an increase in good cholesterol levels, but there was also a slight increase in bad cholesterol levels².
  • Omega-3s from seafood may reduce the risk of having an ischemic stroke. Eating seafood is also associated with a moderate reduction in stroke risk¹.

Can Omega 3 Vitamins Lower Blood Pressure?

While studies suggest that taking omega 3 supplements does not reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, there is some evidence that fish oil supplements, which contain EPA and DHA, can lower blood pressure.

A team of researchers gathered data from 70 randomized clinical trials to examine the effects of EPA and DHA from seafood, fortified foods, and supplements, on adults with and without hypertension.

They found out that people who received EPA and DHA developed lower blood pressure. On average, their top number decreased by 4.51 mmHg while their bottom number decreased by 3.05 mmHg.

Those who took fish oil supplements only experienced a slight decrease in their BP. On average, their top number decreased by 1.75 mmHg while their bottom number decreased by 1.1 mmHg3.

An analysis of 31 studies involving more than 1300 participants also concluded that fish oil supplements have a hypotensive effect of about -0.66/-0.35 mmHg4.

But are these decreases significant?

According to experts, “even small reductions can have a significant clinical impact.³”

Should You Take Omega 3 Vitamins?

Omega 3 fatty acids are important not just for heart health but for many other body functions. Since the body cannot make omega-3s, you must get enough of them from your diet.

As mentioned earlier, fatty fish and seafood are good sources of omega-3s. Consuming seafood is advantageous because they are healthy sources of protein and other beneficial nutrients.

If you want to take omega 3 vitamins, it’s best to talk to your doctor first. Unless you have health problems where supplementation will be helpful (such as high triglycerides), they may not recommend supplementation.

Some supplements may also interact with medicines for hypertension, weight loss, and blood clotting.

Key Takeaways

Omega 3 fatty acids are a form of polyunsaturated fats essential for many bodily functions.

Studies show consuming seafood, a good source of omega-3s, several times a week reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases. However, there’s no evidence that taking omega 3 vitamins can prevent heart ailments.

Still, after reviewing multiple reports, researchers discovered that EPA and DHA may have hypotensive effects.

If you wish to take omega 3 supplements for any of your health problems, please consult your doctor first.

Learn more about Hypertension here.

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Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources
  1. Omega-3 Supplements: In Depth, https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/omega3-supplements-in-depth, Accessed October 13, 2021
  2. Fish Oil, https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-fish-oil/art-20364810, Accessed October 13, 2021
  3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: A Natural Way to Lower Blood Pressure, https://www.clevelandheartlab.com/blog/horizons-omega-3-fatty-acids-a-natural-way-to-lower-blood-pressure/, Accessed October 13, 2021
  4. Does fish oil lower blood pressure? A meta-analysis of controlled trials, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8339414/, Accessed October 13, 2021
  5. Omega-3 Fatty Acids, https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Omega3FattyAcids-Consumer/, Accessed October 13, 2021
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Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. Updated Oct 18
Fact Checked by Kristel Lagorza