Vitamins and Minerals

Omega-3 Fish Oil For Osteoporosis

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What science says about Omega-3 Fish Oil For Osteoporosis

Many scientists and medical experts argue that omega-3 for bone health is beneficial and can help prevent osteoporosis. The omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA increase bone density, reduce inflammation, and lower the number of osteoclasts that break down bone.

Research supports this claim, and some studies show that omega-3 consumption can affect bone metabolism positively. Other studies also indicate that omega-3 decreased inflammation in and around the bone, allowing the body to break down old bone and build new bone tissue instead.

However, despite the positive research outcomes, some experts call for more research to confirm the protective role of omega-3 on bone health. They also call for more research on the topic so they can better understand how omega-3 works to treat osteoporosis.


Opinion in favor of taking omega-3 to treat and prevent osteoporosis:

Supporters of omega-3 consumption for osteoporosis believe that this polyunsaturated fat plays an important role in bone metabolism. Two types of omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) reduce the risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures by reducing the level of inflammation around the bones.

By lowering inflammation, omega-3 reduces the activity of bone-breaking osteoclasts. Omega-3 also increases the activity of bone-building osteoblasts. This maintains bone density and keeps the bones strong, preventing or reducing the progression of osteoporosis.

Some studies suggest that omega-3 affects bone metabolism. In the study, “An increase in dietary n-3 fatty acids decreases a marker of bone resorption in humans,” omega-3 consumption was found to have “protective effect[s] on bone metabolism by decreasing bone resorption.”

Thus, omega-3 prevents osteoporosis because maintains bone turnover by regulating the destruction and formation of new bone tissue. 

Skeptical views about taking omega-3 to treat and prevent osteoporosis:

Medical experts agree that people need omega-3 in small amounts to maintain overall health. However, opponents of omega-3 consumption for osteoporosis argue that there is little evidence to support the claim that omega-3 benefits bone health and prevents osteoporosis.

In “A systematic review of omega-3 fatty acids and osteoporosis,” Orchard et al. found that out of ten randomized controlled trials conducted to determine the effect of omega-3 supplementation on osteoporosis, five trials reported that supplements did not affect bone metabolism. One study had “insufficient data.” Overall, sample sizes from all the trials were small, so they couldn’t conduct a proper analysis of the data. Therefore, researchers call for further studies on the topic.

Plus, some doctors believe that people should obtain their omega-3 from food sources, not supplements. They argue that since the exact mechanism of action of omega-3 fatty acids is still not properly understood, there could be nutrients in the food, other than the omega-3 components, that could also be beneficial for osteoporosis. Therefore, some medical experts oppose the idea of people taking supplements because they believe that the benefits can come from a combination of different nutrients in the foods.

Thus, experts call for more research on omega-3 and its role in reducing inflammation to maintain bone metabolism before they can confirm whether or not the supplement helps prevent osteoporosis.

Published: January 2021

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