Quick Links

Recommendations Summary

HTN: Omega-3 Fatty Acids 2008

Click here to see the explanation of recommendation ratings (Strong, Fair, Weak, Consensus, Insufficient Evidence) and labels (Imperative or Conditional). To see more detail on the evidence from which the following recommendations were drawn, use the hyperlinks in the Supporting Evidence Section below.

  • Recommendation(s)

    Omega-3 Fatty Acids

    Advise that the consumption of omega-3 fatty acids may not be beneficial for the management of hypertension, since their consumption does not appear to lower blood pressure.

    Rating: Fair

    • Risks/Harms of Implementing This Recommendation

      While no defined intake level at which potential adverse effects of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids has been identified, human in vitro studies report increased free-radical formation and lipid peroxidation with higher amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids.  Lipid peroxidation is thought to be a factor in the development of atherosclerotic plaques.

    • Conditions of Application

      No conditions specified.

    • Potential Costs Associated with Application


    • Recommendation Narrative

      • Seven randomized clinical trials examined the effect of omega-3 fatty acid intake on blood pressure compared to other dietary fatty acids in both healthy adults and those at increased risk for CVD (hyperlipidemia, diabetes), including individuals with prehypertension and stage 1 hypertension.

      • Doses of omega-3 fatty acids were provided in foods or as supplements containing from 0.48 - 4.0 g per day for five to 12 weeks; only one study used a whole diet approach with omega-3 fatty acids comprising 25% of dietary fat.  None of the studies reported a significant effect of omega-3 fatty acid consumption on blood pressure (Kriketos et al, 2001; Nestel et al, 2002; Woodman et al, 2002; Dokholyan et al, 2004; Dyerberg et al, 2004; Harrison et al, 2004; Rasmussen et al, 2006).
      • However, two of the seven studies reported beneficial effects of omega-3 fatty acid intake on other factors (Nestel et al, 2002; Dyerberg et al, 2004).

    • Recommendation Strength Rationale

      • Conclusion Statement is Grade II

    • Minority Opinions

      Consensus reached.