Dietary supplementation with flaxseed oil lowers blood pressure in dyslipidaemic patients

[Note: dyslipidemia means disordered blood lipids (fats)] Journal: European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 31 January 2007. E-publication ahead of print. Authors and affiliation: G.K. Paschos, F. Magkos, D.B. Panagiotakos, V. Votteas, A. Zampelas. Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Harokopio University, Athens, Greece (Paschos, Magkos, Panagiotakos, Zampelas); Department of Cardiology, Laiko Hospital, Athens, Greece (Votteas). Sponsor: Greek Ministry of Development, General Secretariat for Research and Technology. [E-mail: ] DOI: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602631 Objective: Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is the natural precursor of the cardioprotective long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. Available data indicate a possible beneficial effect of ALA on cardiovascular disease (CVD), but the response of various CVD risk factors to increased ALA intake is not well characterized. The purpose of the present study was to examine the effect of increased ALA intake on blood pressure in man. Design, setting, subjects and interventions: We used a prospective, two-group, parallel-arm design to examine the effect of a 12-week dietary supplementation with flaxseed oil, rich in ALA (8 grams per day), on blood pressure in middle-aged dyslipidaemic men (number = 59). The diet of the control group was supplemented with safflower oil, containing the equivalent omega-6 fatty acid (11 grams per day linoleic acid (LA); number = 28). Arterial blood pressure was measured at the beginning and at the end of the dietary intervention period. Results: Supplementation with alpha-linolenic acid resulted in significantly lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels compared with linoleic acid (P=0.016 and P=0.011, respectively, from analysis of variance (ANOVA) for repeated measures). Conclusions: We observed a hypotensive [blood pressure lowering] effect of ALA, which may constitute another mechanism accounting in part for the apparent cardioprotective effect of this omega-3 fatty acid. Keywords: omega-3, vegetable oil, hypertension

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