The Journal of nutrition

Higher erythrocyte n-3 PUFAs are associated with decreased blood pressure in middle-aged and elderly Chinese adults.

PMID 24966412


Previous studies suggested that blood fatty acids (FAs) might affect blood pressure (BP), but the findings have been inconclusive. This study evaluated the cross-sectional and prospective associations of erythrocyte FAs with BP in middle-aged and elderly Chinese individuals. Between 2008 and 2010, 1834 participants (1364 women and 470 men) aged 57 ± 5 y had baseline measurements taken of their erythrocyte FAs and BP. A total of 1477 participants (1103 women and 374 men) had their BP measured again after 3.09 ± 0.32 y (range: 2.91-3.26 y). In the cross-sectional analyses (n = 1834), the erythrocyte saturated FA (SFA) content was positively associated with BP, whereas total cis polyunsaturated FAs (PUFAs), their subtypes cis n-3 (ω-3) PUFAs and cis n-6 (ω-6) PUFAs, and the PUFA-to-SFA ratio were inversely associated with BP (all P-trends < 0.05). The longitudinal results (n = 1477) showed marginally inverse associations between cis n-3 PUFAs and the n-3:n-6 PUFA ratio and BP. For individual cis n-3 PUFAs, higher contents of 20:5n-3, 22:5n-3, and 22:6n-3 were significantly associated with reduced increases in SBP over time (the mean change range between quartile 4 and quartile 1 was -0.917 to -0.749 mm Hg for SBP; all P-trends < 0.01), and 20:5n-3 was inversely associated with DBP change (the mean change between quartile 4 and quartile 1 was -0.631; P-trend < 0.001). Path analyses suggested that the associations between cis n-3 PUFAs and BP might be mediated by decreasing serum triglycerides (TGs) and body mass index (BMI). Our findings revealed that a higher content of cis n-3 PUFAs (mainly very long-chain cis n-3 PUFAs) may benefit BP progress, probably mediated by decreasing serum TGs and BMI.