Discover why I recommend omega-3 benefits, in cooperation with omega-6 fatty acids, to maintain healthy blood pressure.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a component of the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil and algae, is taken up by cardiac cells and can be used to calm the heart or decrease arrhythmia potential. This is probably why DHA, if taken regularly, helps prevent sudden cardiac death. DHA omega-3 benefits also assist in bringing down blood pressure – 300-800 mg/day of DHA omega-3 supplements will cause mild blood pressure lowering in most people.
I recommend getting DHA omega-3 benefits from a pure, noncontaminated fish or squid oil that contains EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), too.
Omega-3 Benefits are Enhanced By the Addition of Omega-6s
To experience the true DHA omega-3 benefits for blood pressure, omega-3s should be taken in combination with activated omega-6 essential fatty acids. Natural sources of omega-6s are evening primrose oil, black currant oil, borage oil, and ground flaxseed or flaxseed oil.
Get more of Dr. Sinatra's advice on Omega-3s
Small amounts of omega-6 fatty acids work in conjunction with omega-3 benefits to decrease inflammation, one of the biggest culprits behind increased blood pressure. To be clear, I’m not talking about processed omega-6 fatty acids like canola, safflower, cottonseed, or corn oils—most of us get an overabundance of these, and they can promote inflammation. A good rule of thumb is to use a greater ratio of omega-3 supplements to omega-6 supplements (as much as a 4:1 ratio).
The Omega-3 Benefits of Flax
You can get the two key types of essential fatty acids from flaxseed because it contains 19 percent activated omega-6s and 48 percent of an omega-3 precursor, alpha linolenic acid. In addition to lowering blood pressure, other omega-3 benefits include healthier skin, improved digestion, and a cleaner bowel, which results in less energy drain on the liver—the most important filter of the body.
In general, freshly ground flaxseed is better than flax oil, because you’re assured the oil in the seed is fresh, plus you’re getting extra fiber and plant lignans. Simply grind two tablespoons of flaxseed and sprinkle on food or blend in a breakfast drink three to four times per week.