Who Would Have Thought That Omega-3 Fat Could Improve Your Bones?

A study about the role fatty acids play in building the bone mineral density of young men found that concentrations of omega-3 fats were associated with positive bone mineral densities.

Researchers evaluated the bone health (hip, spine and body) and measured the concentrations of fatty acids in 78 teenage men over an eight-year span.

In addition to the other benefits, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) was linked to better total bone densities, particularly in the spine, as well as positive changes in the spine for men between the ages of 16 and 22.

Dr. Mercola's Comments:


It was a delight to find these two articles in my favorite medical journal this month. It sure seems that conventional medicine is beginning to appreciate how omega-3 fats such as DHA can protect and help your bones properly develop.

This conclusion merely underscores the results of a study I ran two years ago in which higher ratios of omega-6 fats were tied to lower bone densities. Unfortunately, the diets of most people are weighted heavily toward omega-6 fats, no doubt due to a heavy reliance on processed foods.

Ninety percent of the money Americans spend on their food is for processed foods. They are loaded with the WORST that the food industry has to offer:

  • High fructose corn syrup
  • MSG and other food additives
  • Pasteurized dairy
  • GM foods (like most corn and soy products)
  • Omega-6 oils

    Around 1900 the average American only consumed about a pound of vegetable oil (high in omega-6) per year. Now we are consuming over 75 pounds each every year. This increase disrupts the delicate omega-6:3 ratio our ancestors adapted to. In Paleolithic times it was thought to be 1:1. Now it is closer to 15 or 20 to 1 for most of us.

    Many expert nutritionists are not aware of the important relationship between healthy bones and optimal fat intake. Many osteoporosis experts will acknowledge the importance of omega-3 fats for general health but don't understand that they are also a very powerful force in optimizing bone density.

    In addition to increasing your consumption of vegetables, based on your body's unique nutritional type, the secret weapon that protects your bones while balancing your levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fats is taking a high-quality fish oil or krill oil.

    On Vital Votes, reader Cathy from <!--?xml:namespace prefix = st1 /--><st1:place><st1:city>Auckland</st1:city>, <st1:country-region>New Zealand</st1:country-region></st1:place> notes:

    "Another factor often not mentioned in many of these papers is that saturated fatty acids enhance the absorption and metabolism of omega-3 fatty acids through the delta-6-desaturase (D6D) pathway. I expect it would be considered scientific heresy for these researchers to back down on their erroneous position on natural saturated fats.

    Omega-6 fats compete through this same pathway, so the typical US diet which commonly includes ratios of 20-40:1 of omega-6 to omega-3 is going to lead to omega-3 deficiency, however much fish or fish oil an individual consumes.

    "The deadly USDA Diet Pyramid suggests a ratio of 12:1 which in the context of a diet low in saturated fat would render the omega-3 unusable.

    The optimum ratio should be no more than 4:1. It is unfortunate that many people think that simply supplementing with omega-3, vitamins, antioxidants and so forth will protect them from an unhealthy diet when the right conditions (i.e. healthy unprocessed food diet -- with minimal sugar and no refined PVOs) are necessary for proper absorption and utilization of said supplements.

    This factor would also explain the inconsistent findings in studies comparing fish consumption."

    Other responses to this article can be viewed at Vital Votes, and you can add your own thoughts or vote on comments by first registering at Vital Votes.




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