Can Purified Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Supplementation Act Blood Pressure Levels in Untreated Normal-High Blood Pressure Subjects with Hypertriglyceridemia?


Omega-3 (ω-3) polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) from fish and fish oils appear to protect against coronary heart disease: their dietary intake is in fact inversely associated with cardiovascular disease morbidity/mortality in population studies. Recent evidence suggests that at least a part of this protective effect is mediated by a relatively small but significant decrease in blood pressure (BP) level. In fact, omega-3 PUFAs exhibit wide-ranging biological actions that include regulating both vasomotor tone and renal sodium excretion, partly competing with omega-6 PUFAs for common metabolic enzymes and thereby decreasing the production of vasoconstrictor rather than vasodilator and anti-inflammatory eicosanoids. PUFAs also reduce angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) activity, angiotensin II formation. We retrospectively evaluated the long-term effect of a omega-3 PUFAs supplementation on the blood pressure level of 91 hypertriglyceridemic subjects with untreated normal-high blood pressure that were prescribed a 3 grams omega-3 PUFAs supplementation in order to improve their plasma lipid pattern. After 24 months of treatment, systolic blood pressure (SBP) meanly decreased by 2.6 +/- 2.5 mmHg (p = 0.001) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) by 1.4 +/- 3.1 mmHg (p < 0.001), while basal heart rate decreased by 4.1 +/- 4.6 bpm (p < 0.001). Both SBP and DBP reduction were significantly related to the baseline SBP (p < 0.001) and DBP (p < 0.001), respectively. Diastolic blood pressure change was also inversely related to the patient’s age (p = 0.004). No significant difference was perceived in the metabolic syndrome subgroup. In our retrospective study, highly purified omega-3 PUFAs long-term supplementation is associated with a significant reduction in SBP, DBP, and basal heart rate in hypertriglyceridemic patients with normal-high blood pressure. The main determinants of the omega-3 PUFAs anti-hypertensive effect appear to be the basal blood pressure level and age. Future research will clarify if omega-3 PUFAs supplementation could improve the antihypertensive action of specific blood pressure lowering drug classes and of statins.

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M. Leonarda De Rosa, "Can Purified Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Supplementation Act Blood Pressure Levels in Untreated Normal-High Blood Pressure Subjects with Hypertriglyceridemia?," Pharmacology & Pharmacy, Vol. 3 No. 2, 2012, pp. 234-239. doi: 10.4236/pp.2012.32031.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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