Fish Oil Supplements Fight High Blood Pressure

It’s World Pulmonary Hypertension Day – a good time for “mature” adults to think about improving your heart health and fighting high blood pressure.

The Bottom Line

  • The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish like salmon and mackerel are known to promote heart health.
  • Taking fish-oil supplements is an alternative to eating fish.
  • Fish-oil supplements can help reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure in people with high blood pressure.

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Does the thought of a seared tuna steak or a meal of delicately poached salmon make your mouth water? If so go ahead and indulge – it isn’t often that something we love to eat may actually be good for us!

We’ve known for some time about the benefits of consuming “fatty” fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, trout, herring and sardines, for folks age 50+ and seniors. Their good-for-you omega-3 fatty acids are widely believed to help prevent heart disease. Consequently, health advocates around the world recommend two to three servings of fatty fish a week.

But what if you don’t want to eat fish that often or what if you don’t like fish at all? This is where supplements for older adults and senior citizens come in: fish oil capsules are readily available and easy to take (though not nearly as tasty as that salmon filet).

A recent study sought to discover whether fish-oil supplements helped to lower blood pressure, a major factor in reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes. More than 1,500 adults with an average age of 50, approximately half with high blood pressure (140/85 mmHg or greater) and the rest whose blood pressure was normal, were involved in the study. The dosages varied but most of the participants took fish-oil capsules a few times a day and all took the supplements for a minimum of eight weeks. Among those with high blood pressure, some were newly diagnosed and not taking any blood pressure lowering medications; others had been taking medication but stopped prior to participating in the study; and some continued to take their usual medications.

What the research tells us:

  • People with high blood pressure and taking fish oil supplements, lowered both systolic and diastolic blood pressure by a small amount (average decreases of 2.56 mmHg and 1.47 mmHg for systolic and diastolic blood pressure respectively). There was no change in blood pressure among those with normal blood pressure.
  • Fish-oil supplements are not recommended as an alternate therapy for people who have been prescribed blood pressure-lowering medications. However, eating fatty fish or taking fish oil supplements may be an additional strategy for helping to lower blood pressure and maintaining heart health.

Fish Oil Supplements Fight High Blood Pressure article source Fish-oil supplements: another weapon against high blood pressure by McMaster Optimal Aging Portal

mcmaster optimal agingVisit the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal online at www.mcmasteroptimalaging.org for more information. The Portal is a free website for seniors that provides evidence-based information about healthy aging.

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