Health Tip – Oct. 25 – Omega 3s for Strong Bones
Postmenopausal women who are increasing their consumption of omega-3 fatty acids for heart health may get a big bonus: protection against hip fractures. Researchers at Ohio State University analyzed blood samples from postmenopausal women and found that those with higher levels of omega-3s (from both fish and plant sources) were less likely to have broken a hip compared to women whose blood samples were low in omega-3s.
The researchers also looked at levels of omega-6 fatty acids and found that hip fracture risk increased as the ratio of omega-6s to omega-3s went up. Omega-6s (from linoleic acid found in corn, soybean, safflower and sunflower oils) are more plentiful in our diets than omega-3s. The ratio of omega-6s to omega-3s should be no higher than four to one and ideally closer to two to one, but it is generally much higher, the investigators noted.
Because this study was observational in nature – it showed only an association between omega-3s and lower risks of hip fracture – it did not prove cause and effect. But researcher Tonya Orchard, assistant professor of human nutrition, said the findings “add a little more strength to current recommendations to include more omega-3s in the diet.”