, Volume 44, Issue 3, pp 295-296
Date: 24 Aug 2012

Discerning Whether and How Long-Chain, n-3 Fatty Acids Lower Blood Pressure: A Comment on Skulas-Ray et al.

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A plethora of epidemiologic evidence links consumption of fish and n-3 fatty acids with reduced morbidity and mortality from atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease [1]. What is not at all clear is how such benefits accrue, how long diet must be changed, and what quantity of n-3 fatty acids confers disease protection. An important, randomized clinical trial recently found no reduction in major cardiovascular events from a margarine providing the relatively low dose of 400 mg daily of n-3 fatty acids for 40 months [2].

In the current issue, Skulas-Ray and colleagues report a clinical experiment examining the dose–response relationship between n-3 fatty acid supplementation and BP at rest and during acute mental stress [3]. BP was reduced comparably at rest and during stress by 3,400 mg/day for 8 weeks, whereas the lower dose of 850 mg had no effect. BP reduction was proportional to the increase in circulating n-3 fatty acids, corroborating the existence of a presumably linear, dose–respon