A growing body of research has shown that fish oil is linked to reducing blood pressure and cholesterol in adults, but do the same results appear in kids?
In a study passed along to Reuters Health, findings suggest at least some teens can see the same healthy benefits from fish oil supplements as their adult counterparts. The study involved 80 slightly overweight Danish boys in their early to mid teens. The boys were randomly divided into two groups: one group received daily low doses of fish oil (1.5 grams, or 1 1/2 soft-gel caps), while the other group received the same dose of vegetable oil (placebo).
Sixteen weeks later, the experiment showed promising results. The teens in the fish oil group had an average 3.2hg drop in blood pressure readings for both systolic (the top number) and diastolic (the bottom number) levels. The researcher noted this same drop in adults would reduce their risk of stroke by 15%.
The Journal of Pediatrics notes that adolescents with high blood pressure appear to carry the problem with them into adulthood. This tendency is likely owed to lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise.
The teens were also tested for other heart disease risk factors like blood sugar, insulin, and cholesterol. While the teens in the fish oil group showed slight increases in “good” cholesterol (HDL) and non-HDL, there was no significant difference.
Natalie Riediger, a PhD student from University Manitoba in Canada, told Reuters Health that she doesn’t believe the tepid results mean teens wont benefit though.
Riediger explains that the vegetable oil given to the placebo group in the study contained some of the same omega-3s found in the fish oil, which may have masked the supplement’s effects to a certain degree.
The bottom line is that teenagers, like adults, can see the same heart healthy effects of fish oil supplements at a time when growing matters. Future research is definitely needed, but for now it is clear that teaching kids healthy habits will certainly pay off.