High blood pressure increases significantly with age
High blood pressure increases significantly with age, with the number of people age 65 and over continuing to increase. It is a becoming a fast growing health risk in many countries across the globe, in fact it has recently been claimed to be one of the top causes of death in modern society.
Flaxseed may be an effective way to help manage blood pressure
A placebo controlled, double-blind study published recently suggests that flaxseed may be an effective and affordable way to help manage blood pressure. The study involved 110 patients aged 59 to 75 with an average blood pressure of 143/77 mmHg (generally considered high). They were instructed to add certain high fibre foods to their normal daily diet over a period of 6 months. These foods could be chosen from a specific list that provided 30 grams of milled flaxseed per day or a placebo. Blood pressure and blood samples were taken before and after the study.
Study reported flaxseed group showed a significant benefit
At the end of 6 months, those in the flaxseed group saw a 60.5% increase in the blood levels of an Omega-3 fat called alpha-linoleic acid compared to a 5.5% increase in the placebo group. Specifically, those consuming 30 grams per day of flaxseed had a 5.1% decrease in their systolic blood pressure (the top number) compared to a 2.5% increase in the placebo group. For diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number), those in the flaxseed group saw a 6.5% decrease compared to no change in the placebo group. The results therefore showed compared to the placebo group flaxseed oil produced a significant benefit for blood pressure
Results represents a major advance in the treatment of hypertension
The researchers classified flaxseed’s effect on high blood pressure as “potent” and “represents a major advance in the treatment of hypertension”. They added that “it is the first demonstration of the effects of dietary flaxseed on a population with high blood pressure”.
Additionally it was reported that there was no increase in blood levels of DHA, the fish form of Omega-3 fats, suggesting that marine sourced Omega-3 fats were not a factor in the blood pressure improvements but instead were due to flaxseed consumption.
For the researchers, “flaxseed induced one of the most potent anti-hypertensive effects achieved by a dietary intervention” and that “a nutritional strategy like flaxseed, which compliments high blood pressure medication and can be delivered in a relatively inexpensive manner."