Bastyr Center for Natural Health, Seattle, Washington
Search
Health Information
Overview Health Conditions and Concerns Conditions A-M Conditions N-Z Healthy Lifestyle Tips Bastyr Health-E News News and Events Recommended Reading List Recipes National and Community Resources
Schedule an appointment today
Body Systems | Health Conditions | Body Systems | Omega-3s Build Strong Bones

Omega-3s Build Strong Bones

May 10, 2007—A type of omega-3 fatty acid, found primarily in cold-water fish, helps to build strong bones, reports the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Most people associate osteoporosis with women, but the disease can also occur in men. Osteoporosis causes the bones to become weak and brittle, making them more prone to fractures. Whites and Asians are more likely to suffer from the disease. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, one in four men over age 50 will develop an osteoporosis-related fracture at some point in their lives.

Bone is a living tissue; the body constantly makes new bone and removes old bone. During early childhood and adolescence, the body produces new bone faster than it removes the old. By about age 30, bones reach their peak mass.

Many lifestyle choices influence bone health. Smoking, alcohol abuse, physical inactivity, a diet low in calcium and vitamin D, and certain drugs can lead to bone loss, while proper nutrition and regular weight-bearing exercise can help strengthen bones. Recent research suggests that certain fats in the diet contribute to bone loss, while others may help new bone to form.

Omega-3 fatty acids, including DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), have powerful anti-inflammatory actions and can be useful in treating conditions like asthma, heart disease, depression, and allergies. Fatty fish such as salmon, herring, and mackerel are the richest dietary sources of DHA.

The new study examined 78 16-year-old boys to see what effect different fatty acids had on their bone growth. The young men’s bone density was measured at the beginning of the study, and again at ages 22 and 24. When they were 22, the levels of fatty acids in their blood were analyzed.

Higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids were associated with greater bone density at age 22 and with gains in bone density in the spine between ages 16 and 22. DHA seemed to contribute most of the bone-building effect.

“We found that concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids, especially DHA, were positively associated with peak bone mineral density in young men,” the authors said in their conclusion. Other omega-3 fatty acids are present in plant foods like soybeans, walnuts, and flaxseeds. The fatty acids in these foods can be partially converted to DHA, but the conversion may not be enough to have the same beneficial effects as DHA from fish oil.

While some risk factors for osteoporosis can’t be changed—such as gender and ethnicity—diet is one thing that can be controlled. By eating a diet rich in calcium and fatty fish, and getting plenty of physical exercise and vitamin D, young people may be able to build strong bones that can last a lifetime.

(Am J Clin Nutr 2007;85:803–7)

Learn more about the services provided by Bastyr Center for Natural Health, or schedule your appointment today.

Kimberly Beauchamp, ND, earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Rhode Island and her Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University in Kenmore, WA. She cofounded South County Naturopaths in Wakefield, RI. Dr. Beauchamp practices as a birth doula and lectures on topics including whole-foods nutrition, detoxification, and women’s health.

Copyright © 2007 Healthnotes, Inc. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of the Healthnotes® content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Healthnotes, Inc. Healthnotes Newswire is for educational or informational purposes only, and is not intended to diagnose or provide treatment for any condition. If you have any concerns about your own health, you should always consult with a healthcare professional. Healthnotes, Inc. shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. HEALTHNOTES and the Healthnotes logo are registered trademarks of Healthnotes, Inc.

Learn More About It

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 |

Find a Provider

Want to find the provider that's right for you? Learn more about our health care providers.  »



Bastyr Center Disclaimer
gif
gif

The health information contained in this site is not intended as medical advice and should not be considered a substitute for appropriate medical care. Any products mentioned in studies cited in Healthnotes articles are not necessarily endorsed by Bastyr. As with any product, consult with a natural health practitioner to discuss what may be best for you.

gif

Appointments: 206.834.4100
Bastyr Center clinic appointments

Submit a contact request or call us to schedule an appointment »

Bastyr University Clinic in San Diego

Are you looking for Bastyr University Clinic, our new teaching clinic in San Diego? More »

Learn More About Our Services

Natural medicine can treat many types of conditions including:

More treatable health conditions »


Bastyr Center healthcare providers

Interested in finding a provider who's right for you? We recommend that your first visit at BCNH be with a Naturopathic Medicine Provider. »

Home  | Health Information  | Health Care Services  | Our Providers  | Patient Care  | Dispensaries

About BCNH  | Contact Us  | Appointments  | Privacy Policy  | Site Map | Bastyr University