Whole blood omega-3 fatty acid concentrations are inversely associated with blood pressure in young, healthy adults

J Hypertens. 2018 Jul;36(7):1548-1554. doi: 10.1097/HJH.0000000000001728.


Background: Omega-3 fatty acids (n - 3 FA) may have blood pressure (BP)-lowering effects in untreated hypertensive and elderly patients. The effect of n - 3 FA on BP in young, healthy adults remains unknown. The Omega-3 Index reliably reflects an individuals' omega-3 status. We hypothesized that the Omega-3 Index is inversely associated with BP levels in young healthy adults.

Methods: The current study (n = 2036) is a cross-sectional study investigating the baseline characteristics of a cohort, which includes healthy adults, age 25-41 years. Individuals with cardiovascular disease, known diabetes or a BMI higher than 35 kg/m were excluded. The Omega-3 Index was determined in whole blood using gas chromatography. Association with office and 24-h BP was assessed using multivariable linear regression models adjusted for potential confounders.

Results: Median Omega-3 Index was 4.58% (interquartile range 4.08; 5.25). Compared with individuals in the lowest Omega-3 Index quartile, individuals in the highest had a SBP and DBP that was 4 and 2 mmHg lower, respectively (P < 0.01). A significant linear inverse relationship of the Omega-3 Index with 24-h and office BP was observed. Per 1-U increase in log-transformed Omega-3 Index the lowering in BP (given as multivariable adjusted β coefficients; 95% confidence interval) was -2.67 mmHg (-4.83; -0.51; P = 0.02) and -2.30 mmHg (-3.92; -0.68; P = 0.005) for 24-h SBP and DBP, respectively.

Conclusion: A higher Omega-3 Index is associated with statistically significant, clinically relevant lower SBP and DBP levels in normotensive young and healthy individuals. Diets rich in n - 3 FA may be a strategy for primary prevention of hypertension.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Pressure*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / blood*
  • Female
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Male


  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3