Acid in Animal Fats May Increase Blood Pressure

Study pinpoints lower arachidonic acid intake as dietary modification

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SUNDAY, May 1, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- A lower intake of arachidonic acid -- a fatty acid found in animal fats -- is related to lower systolic blood pressure, according to a new international study.

Systolic blood pressure -- the force created when the heart contracts and pumps blood out to the body -- is the first of the two numbers in a blood pressure measurement.

"One standard deviation lower intake of arachidonic acid was associated with [a systolic blood pressure reading of] 1.6 mm Hg lower on average," the study reported. The link persisted after the researchers adjusted for multiple other factors, such as dietary intake of other fatty acids, cholesterol, and animal and vegetable proteins.

Arachidonic acid is an omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid.

The researchers concluded that, in a beneficial diet plan, "lower arachidonic acid intake is one (of several) healthy dietary modifications accounting for a blood pressure fall."

Previous research has found that dietary fats influence blood pressure, but the latest study is one of the first to identify the effects of an individual fatty acid.

Results of the study, which involved 4,680 men and women aged 40 to 59 years, were to be presented Saturday at the American Heart Association's annual conference on cardiovascular disease, epidemiology and prevention.

More information

The American Heart Association has more about fats.

SOURCE: American Heart Association, news release, April 30, 2005

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