Omega 3 EPA and DHA fatty acids may improve blood pressure levels in slightly overweight teens

According to a new study, essential fats may improve cardio measures in slightly-overweight teenage boys.

New findings from Copenhagen University and the Technical University of Denmark confirmed blood pressure reductions in observed overweight boys after 16 weeks of consumption of omega-3 fish oil supplements. Boys were divided into 2 groups: the first group of 13-15 year-old boys consumed a low daily dose of fish oil (1.5 grams), while the second group received the same dose of vegetable oil added to a bread (placebo). Results showed a significant increase in EPA and DHA levels in the red blood cells of the first group. The teens in the omega-3 group had an average 3.2mmHg drop in systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels. Boys from both groups were also tested for other heart disease risk factors such as blood sugar, insulin, and cholesterol levels. While the teens in the fish oil group showed slight increases in HDL (good cholesterol) and non-HDL, there was no significant difference.

This could prove very significant when treating overweight teenagers. It also brings other health benefits to light, such as a decrease in blood pressure corresponds to a grater than 15% ‘reduction in the risk of a stroke at a whole population level in adults,” according to the researchers in The Journal of Pediatrics.

It is common that children with high blood pressure are more likely to suffer from hypertension later in life. The recent findings added a new value to a list of already existing well-documented advantages of fish oils. Since the 1970s, EPA and DHA fatty acids have been linked to a wide-range of health benefits. The results from the study not only confirmed the cardiovascular benefits of omega-3, but also extended our understanding of the positive impact of those essential fats on young people.

Future research is certainly needed, but for now one thing is clear: educating children and teenagers with healthy habits will certainly help them maintain good heart health in their adult life.

Source: The Journal of Pediatrics
September 2010, Volume 157, Issue 3, Pages 395-400.e1
Effects of Fish Oil Supplementation on Markers of the Metabolic Syndrome
Authors: M. Hojgaard Pedersen, C. Molgaard, L.I. Hellgren, L. Lauritzen

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