In a new study, researchers a type of fatty acid mainly in vegetable oils may influence blood pressure.
The influence depends on whether the person has diabetes.
The research was conducted by a research team from Kanazawa University in Japan.
High blood pressure is a chronic health condition that can lead to life-threatening heart disease and stroke.
Several studies have tried to understand the complex relationship between dietary factors and high blood pressure.
However, they could not provide a clear explanation of the interaction between hypertension and dietary fatty acids.
In the current study, the team examined the relationship between intake of fatty acids and high blood pressure in 633 Japanese people aged 40 years and older.
They used blood pressure measurements, diabetes glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) test, and a diet history questionnaire.
The researchers focused on n-6 fatty acids, a building block of fat. The main fatty acid in n-6 fatty acids class is linoleic acid, which exists in many vegetable oils.
Previous research has shown metabolites of n-6 fatty acids could help lower blood pressure in a manner influenced by blood glucose levels.
The team hypothesized that the relationship might be influenced by glucose tolerance, which is broken in people with diabetes.
Their findings confirmed this view.
In healthy people, high intake of n-6 fatty acids was linked to lower risk of high blood pressure, but in people with diabetes, high intake of n-6 fatty acids was linked to higher risk of high blood pressure.
The team suggests that n-6 fatty acid intake may not benefit heart health in people who have high risks of heart disease and diabetes.
In fact, these people may consider reducing their intake of n-6 fatty acids.
For people who have normal glucose tolerance, regular n-6 fatty acid intake may help contribute to the prevention and treatment of high blood pressure.
One author of the study is Hiroyuki Nakamura.
The study is published in Nutrients
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Further reading: Nutrients.