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Omega-3 may improve blood pressure in kidney disease patients

By Stephen Daniells , 17-Sep-2009
Last updated on 17-Sep-2009 at 11:42 GMT2009-09-17T11:42:29Z

A combination of omega-3 fatty acids and coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) may decrease blood pressure and heart rate in kidney disease patients, says a new study.

People with chronic kidney disease (CKD), which increases the risk of heart disease two- to 50-fold, experienced improvements in both blood pressure and heart rate following supplementation with four grams of omega-3 fatty acids, according to findings published in the Journal of Hypertension.

Furthermore, when take in combination with coenzyme Q10 the blood pressure reducing benefits were enhanced, despite CoQ10 alone not being associated with any improvements on its own, report researchers from University of Western Australia and Royal Perth Hospital.

“The finding of an interaction between omega-3 fatty acids and CoQ10 on blood pressure is difficult to explain in view of the lack of effect of CoQ10 alone on blood pressure and needs confirmation,” wrote the researchers, led by Dr Trevor Mori.

According to background information in the article, CKD is linked to increased prevalence in all-cause mortality, cardiovascular events and hospitalization. These people are at an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, and modifiable risk factors include high blood pressure (hypertension).

Since omega-3 may improve blood pressure, heart rate, blood lipid levels, and vascular function, and CoQ10 may improve blood pressure and vascular function, Dr Mori and his co-workers recruited 85 people with CKD (average age 56.5, average BMI 27.3 kg/m2) and randomly assigned them to receive either 4 grams of omega-3 (Solvay Pharmaceuticals, containing 1,840 mg EPA, 152 mg of DPA, and 1,520 mg DHA), 200 mg of CoQ10 (Blackmores Australia), both, or placebo (4 g olive oil) for 8 weeks.

Results of the double-blind, placebo-controlled intervention showed that people receiving only omega-3 experienced a 3.3 and 2.9 mmHg decrease in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and a reduction of heart rate of 4.0 beats per minute. Furthermore, triglyceride levels decreased by 24 per cent in this group.

In the combined group, systolic and diastolic blood pressure improved by 2.7 and 3.4 mmHg, respectively. CoQ10 did not benefit blood pressure and was associated with a slight increase in heart rate.

“Future studies should include long-term supplementation in order to determine effects of omega-3 fatty acids on renal function in patients with CKD,” wrote the researchers.

“These results show that omega-3 fatty acids lower blood pressure and may reduce cardiovascular risk in non-diabetic patients with moderate- to-severe CKD,” they concluded.

Source: Journal of Hypertension
September 2009, Volume 27, Issue 9, Pages 1863-1872 doi: 10.1097/HJH.0b013e32832e1bd9
“The effects of omega-3 fatty acids and coenzyme Q10 on blood pressure and heart rate in chronic kidney disease: a randomized controlled trial”
Authors: T.A. Mori, V. Burke, I.B. Puddey, A.B. Irish, C.A. Cowpland, L.J. Beilin, G.K. Dogra, G.F. Watts

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