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Hypertension. 2005 Mar;45(3):368-73. Epub 2005 Jan 17.

Dietary linolenic acid is associated with a lower prevalence of hypertension in the NHLBI Family Heart Study.

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Section of Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology, Evans Department of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, Massachusetts 02118, USA.


Dietary linolenic acid has been shown to be associated with coronary artery disease. However, limited data are available on its effects on blood pressure. We used data from 4594 white participants (aged 25 to 93 years) in the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Family Heart Study to evaluate whether dietary linolenic acid was associated with prevalent hypertension and resting blood pressure. We used generalized estimating equations to determine the prevalence odds ratios (ORs) of hypertension and adjusted means of systolic and diastolic blood pressure across quartiles of linolenic acid. Mean dietary linolenic acid intake was 0.81+/-0.35 g per day for men and 0.69+/-0.29 g per day for women. From the lowest to the highest quartile of linolenic acid, multivariable adjusted ORs (95% confidence interval [CI]) for hypertension were 1.0 (reference), 0.73 (0.56 to 0.95), 0.71 (0.53 to 0.95), and 0.67 (0.47 to 0.96), respectively (P for trend 0.04), controlling for age, sex, energy intake, body mass index, risk group, study site, education, smoking, alcohol intake, exercise, and history of coronary artery disease and diabetes mellitus. Dietary linolenic acid was related inversely to resting systolic (P for trend 0.03) but not diastolic blood pressure (P for trend 0.43). Linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid, was not associated with prevalent hypertension or blood pressure. These data suggest that dietary linolenic acid is associated with a lower prevalence of hypertension and lower systolic blood pressure in white subjects.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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