Archive for November 2013

Omega-3 May Improve Cardio Measures in Overweight Teens

November 29, 2013

New Omega-3 Research Shows The Benefits Of These Nutritional Fish Oils For Cardiovascular Health

Daily supplements of the omega-3s EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA  (docosahexaenoic acid) may improve blood pressure levels in  slightly overweight teenage boys. Blood pressure  reductions in order of 3 mmHg were observed following  16 weeks of consumption of omega-3 fortified bread  by overweight boys going through their adolescent growth  spurt, according to new findings from Copenhagen University and the Technical University of  Denmark.

“A blood pressure decrease of about 3 mmHg  corresponds to a [greater than] 15 percent reduction in  the risk of stroke at a whole population level in adults,”  wrote the researchers in The Journal of Pediatrics.

“Blood pressure has been shown to track  into adulthood, with children and adolescents with high  blood pressure more likely to suffer from hypertension  later in life. Thus, adolescents with blood pressure in the  higher range can be viewed as �prehypertensive,’ but whether  the tracking of high blood pressure is a result of  unhealthy diet and exercise habits carried from childhood to  adulthood or whether some programming of blood pressure  occurs during adolescence is not known,” they  added.

The heart health benefits of consuming oily  fish, and the omega-3 fatty acids they contain, are  well-documented, being first reported in the early 1970s. To  date, the polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) have  been linked to improvements in blood lipid levels, a  reduced tendency of thrombosis, blood pressure and heart rate  improvements, and improved vascular function.

Beyond heart health, omega-3 fatty acids,  most notably EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA  (docosahexaenoic acid), have been linked to a wide-range of  health benefits, including reduced risk of certain cancers,  good development of a baby during pregnancy,  joint health, and improved behavior and mood.

Study Details The new study extends our understanding of  the cardiovascular benefits of the fatty acids,  and involved 78 mildly overweight adolescent

boys aged  between 13 and 15. “We chose to recruit slightly  overweight boys, because we wanted clear potential for  improvement in the risk factors evaluated,” explained the  researchers.

At the end of the study the researchers  recorded a significant increase in EPA and DHA levels  in the red blood cells of the omega-3 group of 1.2 and  6.7 percent, respectively, compared with increases of  0.6 and 4.1 percent in the control group.

In addition, systolic blood pressure was  3.8 mmHg lower following 16 weeks of omega-3-rich bread  consumption, compared with control, while diastolic  blood pressure was 2.6 mmHg lower in the omega-3 group.

No changes in blood levels of  triacylglycerol or insulin sensitivity.

Increases in HDL and non-HDL cholesterol  levels were also recorded in omega-3 group of 5 and 7  percent, respectively, compared with 2 and 0 percent  in the control group.

“In this study, the non- HDL/HDL ratio,  which is believed to be a better indicator of risk, was  unaffected by the treatment, and thus the net effect appears  to be neutral,” added the researchers.

Commenting on the potential mechanism to  explain the apparent benefits, the researchers point to  the competition between EPA/DHA and arachidonic acid (AA)  in the synthesis of inflammation-related  eicosanoids: AA derivatives may stimulate the constriction  of blood vessels which would increase blood pressure, while  EPA/DHA derivatives may inhibit this pathway.

Source: The Journal of Pediatrics September 2010, Volume 157, Issue 3, Pages 395-400. “Effects of Fish Oil Supplementation on Markers of the Metabolic Syndrome”

This article is for informational and educational purposes only;  It is not intended to provide   medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.   Consult your doctor or healthcare professional.