Omega-3 May Improve Cardio
New Omega-3 Research Shows The Benefits Of These Nutritional Fish Oils For Cardiovascular Health
Daily supplements of the omega-3s EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) may improve blood pressure levels in slightly
overweight teenage boys. Blood pressure reductions in order of 3 mmHg were observed following 16 weeks of consumption of omega-3 fortified bread by overweight boys going through their adolescent growth spurt, according to new findings from Copenhagen University and the Technical University of Denmark.
“A blood pressure decrease of about 3 mmHg corresponds to a [greater than] 15 percent reduction in the risk of stroke at a whole population level in adults,” wrote the researchers in The Journal of Pediatrics.
“Blood pressure has been shown to track into adulthood, with children and adolescents with high blood pressure more likely to suffer from hypertension later in life. Thus, adolescents with blood pressure in the higher range can be viewed as ‘prehypertensive,’ but whether the tracking
of high blood pressure is a result of unhealthy diet and exercise habits carried from childhood to adulthood or whether some programming of blood pressure occurs during adolescence is not known,” they added.
The heart health benefits of consuming oily fish, and the omega-3 fatty acids they contain, are well-documented, being first reported in the early 1970s. To date, the polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) have been linked to improvements in blood lipid levels, a reduced tendency of thrombosis, blood pressure and heart rate improvements, and improved vascular function.
Beyond heart health, omega-3 fatty acids, most notably EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), have been linked to a wide-range of health benefits,including reduced risk of certain cancers, good development of a baby during pregnancy, joint health, and improved behaviour and mood.
The new study extends our understanding of the cardiovascular benefits of the fatty acids, and involved 78 mildly overweight adolescent boys aged between 13 and 15. “We chose to recruit slightly overweight boys, because we wanted clear potential for improvement in the risk factors evaluated,” explained the researchers.
At the end of the study the researchers recorded a significant increase in EPA and DHA levels in the red blood cells of the omega-3 group of 1.2 and 6.7 percent, respectively, compared with increases of 0.6 and 4.1 percent in the control group.
In addition, systolic blood pressure was 3.8 mmHg lower following 16 weeks of omega-3-rich bread consumption, compared with control, while diastolic blood pressure was 2.6 mmHg lower in the omega-3 group.
No changes in blood levels of triacylglycerol or insulin sensitivity. Increases in HDL and non-HDL cholesterol levels were also recorded in omega-3 group of 5 and 7 percent, respectively, compared with 2 and 0 percent in the control group.
“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,” added the researchers.
Commenting on the potential mechanism to explain the apparent benefits, the researchers point to the competition between EPA/DHA and arachidonic acid (AA) in the synthesis of inflammation-related eicosanoids: AA derivatives may stimulate the constriction of blood vessels which would increase blood pressure, while EPA/DHA derivatives may inhibit this pathway.
Source: The Journal of Pediatrics
September 2010, Volume 157, Issue 3,
“Effects of Fish Oil Supplementation on
Markers of the Metabolic Syndrome”
Executive Director, Acupuncture Physician
Dr. Riggin is FitFM - Family Wellness , is the Founder and Director of Healing Touch Oriental Medicine. As an inspiring health educator, in-demand speaker and doctor of acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, Dr. Mary has helped thousands of people completely turn their health around.
Dr. Mary co-hosts and produces the wildly popular radio show "Food is the First Medicine" and her presentations and viewpoints on natural healthcare have made her an in-demand and innovative expert in the natural health world.
Dr. Mary Riggin, produces and hosts Food is the First Medicine Talk Radio Show, and is a popular speaker.She has practices natural medicine in the Tampa Bay area; her passion and purpose is to help as many people as possible. Listen to her weekly on TanTalk 1340AM in Tampa Bay, or online anytime, anywhere at www.foodismedicine.org.
She is former Vice Chair of the Florida State Board of Acupuncture. She has been featured on various TV and radio shows and frequently teaches free classes at community and recreation centers throughout Pinellas County.
She is a published author and was featured in the book A Woman's Guide to Vitamins, Minerals and Alternative Healing, writes and publishes educational newsletters and brochures, and was elected to serve two consecutive terms as President of the Florida State Oriental Medical Association.
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