Effect of medium-term supplementation with a moderate dose of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on blood pressure in mild hypertensive patients.


Prisco D, Paniccia R, Bandinelli B




Thromb Res


Several studies have shown that n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFA) are able to lower blood pressure (BP) in humans, but large doses of fish oils have been often used. Moreover, most of the studies available in the literature were not able to evaluate the specific effects of n-3 PUFA because they employed fish oils which contain, together with n-3 PUFA, many other different components. The aim of this preliminary study was to evaluate if medium-term supplementation with a moderate dose of highly purified eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) ethyl esters is able to reduce BP in mild hypertensive patients. Sixteen mild essential hypertensive (diastolic BP: 95-104 mm Hg), non- diabetic, normolipidemic male outpatients and 16 normotensive male controls were recruited to participate in the study. Both hypertensive and control subjects were randomly assigned to receive either EPA and DHA ethyl esters (2.04 g EPA and 1.4 g DHA) as active treatment or olive oil (4 g/day) as a placebo for a period of 4 months. These subjects were followed up with 24-hour ambulatory BP monitoring and blood chemistry analyses at 2 and 4 months of treatment and 2 months after its discontinuation. The intake of n-3 PUFA was checked by red blood cell (RBC) phosphatidylcholine (PC) fatty acid composition. The effect of n-3 PUFA on BP in the active group was maximum after 2 months. Both systolic (-6 mm Hg, p<0.05) and diastolic (-5 mm Hg, p<0.05) BP significantly decreased during the n-3 PUFA ethyl ester supplementation. No further effect was observed at 4 months with a return to baseline values during the recovery period. These data indicate that 4 g/day of highly purified EPA + DHA ethyl esters are able to favorably affect BP in mild hypertensives.