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Food Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake of Individuals (Total, Linolenic Acid, Long-Chain) and Their Blood Pressure. INTERMAP Study

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Journal: Hypertension. 2007 Jun 4; [E-publication ahead of print]

Authors and affiliations: Ueshima H, Stamler J, Elliott P, Chan Q, Brown IJ, Carnethon MR, Daviglus ML, He K, Moag-Stahlberg A, Rodriguez BL, Steffen LM, Van Horn L, Yarnell J, Zhou B. Department of Health Science, Shiga University of Medical Science, Otsu, Shiga, Japan; Department of Preventive Medicine, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois; Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, St Mary’s Campus, London, UK; University of Hawaii and Pacific Health Research Institute, Honolulu, Hawaii; University of Minnesota School of Public Health, Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, Minneapolis, Minnesota; Department of Medicine, University of Belfast School of Medicine, Belfast, UK; Department of Epidemiology, Fu Wai Hospital and Cardiovascular Institute, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Beijing, People’s Republic of China.. PMID: 17548718

Findings from short-term randomized trials indicate that dietary supplements of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PFA) lower blood pressure of hypertensive persons, but effect size in nonhypertensive individuals is small and nonsignificant.

Data are lacking on food omega-3 PFA and blood pressure in general populations. The International Study of Macro- and Micro-nutrients and Blood Pressure (INTERMAP) is an international cross-sectional epidemiologic study of 4,680 men and women ages 40 to 59 from 17 population-based samples in China, Japan, United Kingdom, and United States. We report associations of food omega-3 PFA intake (total, linolenic acid, long-chain) of individuals with blood pressure.

Systolic and diastolic blood pressure were measured 8 times at 4 visits.

With several models to control for possible confounders (dietary, other), linear regression analyses showed inverse relationship of total omega-3 PFA from food (percent kilocalories, from four 24-hour dietary recalls) to systolic and diastolic blood pressures. With adjustment for 17 variables, estimated systolic blood pressure/diastolic blood pressure differences with 2 standard deviation higher (0.67% kcal) omega-3 PFA were -0.55/-0.57 mm Hg (Z-score -1.33, -2.00); for 2238 persons without medical or dietary intervention, -1.01/-0.98 mm Hg (Z -1.63, -2.25); for 2038 nonhypertensive persons from this sub-cohort, -0.91/-0.92 mm Hg (Z -1.80, -2.38).

For linolenic acid (largely from vegetable foods), blood pressure differences were similar; e.g., for the 2238 "nonintervened" individuals, -0.97/-0.87 mm Hg (Z -1.52, -1.95); blood pressure differences were -0.32/-0.45 mm Hg for long-chain omega-3 PFA (largely from fish).

In summary, food omega-3 PFA intake related inversely to blood pressure, including in nonhypertensive persons, with small estimated effect size. Food omega-3 PFA may contribute to prevention and control of adverse blood pressure levels.

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One thought on “Food Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake of Individuals (Total, Linolenic Acid, Long-Chain) and Their Blood Pressure. INTERMAP Study”

  1. CFSman66 says:

    I think it might be helpful if someone had proofread the abstract. Perhaps it’s the translation from Japanese, or multiple authors, etc., but the discussion is unclear.

    For example, what does it really mean when the article says “of individuals with blood pressure”? I believe they mean HIGH blood pressure, not merely that they have blood pressure (= they are alive).

    I anticipated the conclusion, but did not reach it by reading the abstract’s discussion.

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