Experts advised that eating fatty fish daily is better than omega-3 supplements for lowering blood pressure and preventing heart failure, after it was found that the current recommended intake is too low.
The World Health Organization (WHO) currently advises people to eat between 1.1 and 1.6 grams of omega-3s per day, while the National Health Organization recommends only one portion of fish per week.
But a new study by the Macau University of Science and Technology in China finds the optimal dose for heart health is 3g, twice the amount provided by even the most powerful 1,500mg supplements. Many dietary supplements are produced in the form of capsules of only 300 mg.
Researchers analyzed the results of 71 clinical trials from around the world, published from 1987 to 2020, and found that the ideal point for lowering blood pressure was 3 grams per day, which is equivalent to about 4-5 ounces of Atlantic salmon.
“According to our research, the average adult may experience modest reductions in blood pressure from an intake of about three grams per day of these fatty acids,” said Dr.
Algae supplements are also an option
Most studies reported fish oil supplementation rather than omega-3 intake in food, suggesting that supplements may be an alternative for those who cannot regularly eat fatty fish like salmon.
“Algae supplements are also an option for people who do not consume fish or other animal products.”
Omega-3 fatty acids are commonly found in fish, such as salmon, tuna, sardines, trout, herring, and oysters, and are essential for a healthy heart, brain, joints, and eyes.
Fish do not actually produce their own omega-3s, but rather get them from consuming seaweed and algae.
Oily fish often contains high levels of contaminants
One reason the NHS does not recommend eating more oily fish is that it often contains high levels of contaminants, such as mercury, cadmium and lead.
Other foods that contain high levels of omega-3 include walnuts, chia seeds, and soybeans.
Some studies have suggested that omega-3s have a beneficial effect on inflammation and immunity, and may also help prevent autoimmune diseases.
Deficiencies in omega-3s have previously been linked to depression, joint pain, headaches, anxiety, skin irritation, brittle hair and nails, insomnia, and fatigue.
The research was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
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