The Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Blood Pressure

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Filed Under: Heart Health, Food and Nutrition, Nutrients and Additives, Blood Pressure
Last Reviewed 03/28/2014

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a component of the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil and algae, can literally get inside cardiac cells and calm the heart or decrease arrhythmia potential. This is probably why DHA, if taken regularly, helps prevent sudden cardiac death. The benefits of DHA also assist in bringing down blood pressure; 300–800 mg/day of DHA will cause mild blood pressure lowering in most people. 

The Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Blood Pressure I recommend getting DHA in a pure, noncontaminated fish oil that contains EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), too. 

You Need Many Sources of Essential Fatty Acids

To realize the true benefit of DHA for blood pressure lowering, it should be taken in combination with activated omega-6 essential fatty acids—evening primrose oil, black currant oil, or borage oil and ground flaxseed or flaxseed oil.

Small amounts of omega-6 fatty acids decrease inflammation, one of the biggest culprits behind increased blood pressure. By the way, 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 essential fatty acids to omega-6 fatty acids (as much as a 4:1 ratio).

Flax: The Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Omega-6

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. Besides the blood pressure lowering benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, you’ll be rewarded with healthier skin, lower LDL cholesterol levels, improved digestion and a cleaner bowel, which results in less energy drain on the liver—the most important filter of the body. When your liver is working properly, LDL cholesterol levels go down, and HDL levels go up. 

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.

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