Researchers determined that somewhere between 2-3 grams omega-3 to lower blood pressure is the optimal dose. For people with a high risk of cardiovascular disease …
The most up-to-date guidelines provided by the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association set normal blood pressure at 120/80 mm Hg or less, elevated blood pressure at 120-129/80 mm Hg, hypertension stage 1 at 130-139/80-89 mm Hg, and hypertension stage 2 at 140/90 mm Hg or higher. But now a new large-scale review has found the optimal does of omega-3 to lower blood pressure.
It is well known that having above-normal blood pressure can increase a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease. Research further suggests that it might even increase the risk of developing dementia later in life, while lowering blood pressure may offer a preventative effect against memory loss and other cognitive issues.
Optimal dose of omega-3 to lower blood pressure
This review was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association in June of 2022. In total, it assessed the results of 71 trials involving a combined 4,973 participants, all of whom were 18 years of age or older.
After looking at the various doses provided, researchers determined that somewhere between 2-3 grams omega-3 to lower blood pressure is the optimal dose. For people with a high risk of cardiovascular disease, more than three grams per day may provide additional benefits.
How omega-3s impact blood pressure
Previous research suggests that omega-3s may lower blood pressure by their direct activation of large-conductance Ca2+-dependent K+ channels in vascular smooth muscle cells. These channels play a role in hormone secretion control and help regulate the function of various tissues physiologically.
A 2021 article in Frontiers in Physiology explains that large-conductance Ca2+-dependent K+ channels “are the key ionic determinant of vascular tone and organ perfusion.” Dysfunction in these channels has been associated with conditions relating to cardiovascular disease.
Other health benefits of omega-3s
Omega-3s offer more benefits beyond helping to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. An article published in volume 9 of the Annual Review of Food Science and Technology reports that omega-3s are important for visual and neurological development while also helping to protect the health of a mother and child.
It adds that, while results are somewhat mixed, several studies have found that these polyunsaturated fatty acids may also be beneficial for preventing and/or managing different diseases, both mental and physical. Among them are:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Various types of cancer (prostate, colon, breast, lung, ovarian, etc.)
- Alzheimer’s disease
The Office of Dietary Supplements adds that omega-3s may help people with dry eye disease and rheumatoid arthritis, and that more research is being conducted to learn if they might also be beneficial for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, cystic fibrosis, and children who have allergies.
Omega-3 food sources
One way to consume the optimal omega-3 dose of 2-3 grams per day is by increasing the consumption of foods that contain these fatty acids. Fish are one of the best sources of omega-3s and include options such as herring, wild salmon, mackerel, sardines, lake trout, and striped bass.
Flaxseed oil and canola oil also provide a decent amount of omega-3s. So do chia seeds, walnuts, and fortified foods such as yogurt, milk, and soy beverages.
Another option for getting enough omega-3s in your diet daily is to take a supplement. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health reports that side effects from this type of supplement are generally mild and can include headache, gastrointestinal symptoms, bad breath or bad-smelling sweat, and unpleasant taste.
It’s important to know that omega-3 supplements may interact with some medications, such as anticoagulants. It’s also not clear if people who are allergic to seafood can take omega-3 to lower blood pressure in the form of fish oil. Therefore, patients taking medicines for any other health condition or who have a seafood allergy should consult their medical provider to ensure that an omega-3 supplement is safe for them.