Omega-3 Consumption and Hypertension

Omega-3 Consumption and HypertensionNew research published in Hypertension shows a high Omega-3 Index, which is a newly established risk measure for heart disease, may be inversely related to Blood Pressure levels in healthy young adults.  This newest study supports a meta-analysis done in 2014 which concluded Blood-Pressure-Lowing effects could be associated with Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids.

Over 2000 healthy adults, ages 25 through 41 participated in this study.  Individuals with a BMI (body mass index) over 35 kg/m, cardiovascular disease and diabetes were excluded from the study.  The average Omega-3 index was 4.58%.  When compared with participants in the lowest Omega-3 index quartile, participants in the highest Omega-3 index quartile had SBP (systolic blood pressure) that was 4 mmHg lower and DBP (diastolic blood pressure) that was 2 mmHg lower. Additionally the difference in blood pressure was seen with only a 2% difference in the Omega-3 index (3.8% vs 5.8%) which suggests the effects seen may have been greater if the Omega-3 index had been higher.  For overall health and reductions in the risk of premature death, the Omega-3 index sets the ideal standard for Omega-3 between 8% and 12%.

For this study a unique tool was used for testing Omega-3 levels.  A blood test, called the Omega-3 index, tests the level of Omega-3 levels in red blood cells with a single drop of blood.  A campaign called the Omega-3 project has also been established to aid in raising awareness, among physicians and their patients, about the health ramifications of low Omega-3 levels.

The American Heart Association believes over 100 million people, nearly half of all adults, in the United States currently have High Blood Pressure which puts them at an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.

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Folic Acid Supplements May Reduce Stroke Risk in Hypertensive Patients

Folic Acid and Stroke PreventionA new research team has suggested that supplementation with Folic Acid may reduce the risk of stroke by approximately 75% in individuals with High Blood Pressure.

Over 10,750 individuals who were a part of the China Stroke Primary Prevention Trial (CSPPT) participated in this RCT (randomized controlled trial).  Participants varied in age from 45 to 75 years of age.  All participants had Hypertension or were taking Anti-Hypertensive medication.  Participants were randomly assigned into two groups.  Group one contained over 5,400 patients who received either a daily 10 mg oral dose of Enalapril, an Anti-Hypertensive, plus 800 mcg of Folic Acid.  Group two contained over 5,300 patients who received only the Enalapril.

210 first strokes occurred in group two, the Enalapril only group, while 161 first strokes occurred in group one, the Enalapril plus Folic Acid group over a 4 year period.  Researchers determined that the risk of a first stroke was reduced from 5.6% to 1.8% in group one participants who shared low platelet counts and high homocysteine levels which represented a 73% risk reduction.  No benefits in Folic Acid supplementation was seen in participants with a high platelet count and low homocysteine levels.

Researchers concluded taking a B Vitamin or a Multi-Vitamin/Mineral Supplement containing Folic Acid was a wise move for all adults.

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Magnesium Pills May Improve Blood Pressure in At-Risk Populations

Magnesium and High Blood PressureA new meta-analysis found individuals with pre-diabetes, insulin resistance or other non-communicable chronic disease have a higher risk for hypertension (High Blood Pressure) but supplementation with Magnesium may lower their blood pressure.

11 gold-standard randomized controlled trials were reviewed.  Researchers found Magnesium supplementation significantly decreased both systolic (4.18 mmHg) and diastolic (2.27 mmHg) blood pressure.  It is believed that Magnesium effects vascular tone and thus improves endothelium (the layer of cells lining blood vessels) function which directly lowers blood pressure.  Additionally Magnesium has been reported to have a synergistic effect when combined with medications that are considered to be antihypertensive.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) lists Magnesium as being involved in over 300 enzymatic processes in the body, such as helping to maintain normal nerve and muscle functions, keeping our bones strong as well as supporting a healthier immune response.  This important mineral is also necessary for supporting healthy blood pressure and blood sugar management.  70% – 80% of the population in the United States is not achieving the recommended intakes of daily Magnesium.

Researcher concluded that a well-designed, double blind, randomized placebo-controlled clinical study is warranted to provide more substantial evidence as to the benefits of Magnesium supplementation on blood pressure as well as disease outcomes in patients with pre-diabetes, insulin resistance and other non-communicable chronic diseases.

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Dietary Potassium Linked with Lower Blood Pressure

HypertensionA new meta-analysis of several population studies has found that increasing dietary potassium may help with supporting healthier blood pressure levels.  Researchers looked at the link between blood pressure and dietary potassium, sodium and the ratio between potassium and sodium.

Researchers found that the higher the dietary potassium, measured from dietary recall and urinary excretion, the lower the participants blood pressure no matter how much sodium was ingested.  Other interventional studies with potassium supplementation showed a direct benefit of potassium and blood pressure reductions.  Researchers also reviewed recent animal studies that showed the body’s ability to balance sodium and potassium levels in the blood.  This is critical for nerve and muscle function as well as normal cardiovascular function.

Decreasing sodium intake has always been the way to reduce blood pressure, but new evidence suggests increasing potassium may be as important in reducing hypertension.  When potassium intake is high the kidneys excrete more water and salt which in turn increases potassium excretion concluded researchers.  Currently many modern diets consist of a lot of processed foods with added sodium unlike the diets of our early ancestors which were higher in potassium and very low in sodium.  This dietary shift has increased the risks of developing hypertension.  Hypertension affects over a billion people worldwide and it is estimated that high blood pressure is responsible for a least 51% of the deaths caused by strokes and 45% of the deaths caused by heart disease.

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L-Arginine-B Vitamin Combination Effective for Blood Pressure Improvements

High Blood PressureA new study has found a combination of the amino acid L-Arginine, Folic Acid, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B12 may improve vascular function in addition to supporting a reduction in blood pressure.

81 people participated in this placebo-controlled clinical trial.  Study participants ranged in age from 40 to 65 years of age and were randomly assigned to receive a placebo or a combination of L-arginine and B vitamins (3 mg of B6, .4 mg of Folic acid, 2 mcg of B12 or 2400 mg of L-Arginine).  The study lasted for 6 months, 3 months with the assigned supplement combination or the placebo and 3 months with no supplementation.

Results showed a .37 increase in the reactive hyperemia index (RHI), a measure of endothelial function which shows improvements in vascular function, in the group taking the actual supplements with no significant changes seen in the group taking the placebo.  Additionally systolic blood pressure decreased significantly (6 mmHg) over the study period in the group supplementing with the actual supplement combination with no changes seen in the placebo group.

Most recently even modest changes in blood pressure (5 mmHg) were considered as being clinically significant and were associated with a 9% reduction in coronary heart disease risk and a 14% reduction in stroke risk.

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Garlic Plus Lemon May Improve Cholesterol Level, Lower Blood Pressure

heartA new study finds combining garlic and lemon juice may help reduce total and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels in individuals with high blood lipids and may improve their blood pressure as well.

Over 100 people with elevated blood lipid levels (hyperlipidemic) participated in this randomized controlled parallel-designed clinical study.  Participants were assigned to one of four groups randomly:  Group 1 received a combination of garlic and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice daily, Group 2 received only 20 grams of fresh garlic daily, Group 3 received 1 tablespoon of lemon juice daily and the last group received nothing.  The study lasted 8 weeks.

Group 1, the group which received both the garlic and the lemon juice showed significant reductions in both total cholesterol and bad cholesterol (LDL) when compared with the other groups.  Also larger reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressure was seen only for Group 1, the group receiving the garlic and lemon juice and Group 2, the group receiving the garlic only when compared with the other 2 groups.  Larger reductions in BMI  (Body Mass Index) were seen in Group 1, the group receiving both the garlic and lemon juice when compared to the other groups.

Further studies are warranted.

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Meta-Analysis Digs Deeper into Magnesium’s Potential to Lower Blood Pressure

High Blood PressureA causal effect of magnesium supplementation for lowering blood pressure in adults was seen in a recent meta-analysis.

Data from 34 randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trials was reviewed.  Over 2,000 individuals, including normo-tensive and hypertensive people, between the ages of 18 and 84 were included in these trials. Study participants received either a 368 mg/day magnesium supplement or a placebo.  The study lasted 3 months.

Overall reductions in both systolic and diastolic blood pressures were seen in the magnesium supplementation group.  Serum magnesium was used to reflect the participant’s magnesium status.  Researchers found oral magnesium supplementation at a dose of 200 mg/day for 1 month was sufficient to significantly raise serum magnesium levels.

Magnesium, often called the “forgotten mineral” is involved in over 300 enzymatic processes in the body.  It is believed that approximately 70% to 80% of all Americans are not meeting the RDI of magnesium.

Further studies are planned.

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