Polyunsaturated n-3 and n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) are precursors of biologically active metabolites that affect blood pressure (BP) regulation. This study investigated the association of n-3 and n-6 PUFA and BP in children and adolescents.
In a subsample of 1267 children aged 2-9 years at baseline of the European IDEFICS (Identification and prevention of dietary- and lifestyle-induced health effects in children and infants) cohort whole blood fatty acids were measured by a validated gas chromatographic method. Systolic and diastolic BP was measured at baseline and after two and six years. Mixed-effects models were used to assess the associations between fatty acids at baseline and BP z-scores over time adjusting for relevant covariables. Models were further estimated stratified by sex and weight status.
The baseline level of arachidonic acid was positively associated with subsequent systolic BP (β = 0.08, P = 0.002) and diastolic BP (β = 0.07, P<0.001). In thin/normal weight children, baseline alpha-linolenic (β = -1.13, P = 0.003) and eicosapentaenoic acid (β = -0.85, P = 0.003) levels were inversely related to baseline and also to subsequent systolic BP and alpha-linolenic acid to subsequent diastolic BP. In overweight/obese children, baseline eicosapentaenoic acid level was positively associated with baseline diastolic BP (β = 0.54, P = 0.005).
Low blood arachidonic acid levels in the whole sample and high n-3 PUFA levels in thin/normal weight children are associated with lower and therefore healthier BP. The beneficial effects of high n-3 PUFA on BP were not observed in overweight/obese children, suggesting that they may have been overlaid by the unfavorable effects of excess weight.

PMID: 27806134

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