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Men's health

Omega-3 fatty acids boost bone density in men

Monday, April 09, 2007 by: NewsTarget staff
Tags: men's health, omega-3 fatty acids, health news

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The presence of omega-3 fatty acids in young men is linked to "peak bone mass" or bone mineral density, according to a study published this month in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The study found that 22-year-old men with the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids had the greatest bone density in the body and spine two years later.

Dr. Magnus Hogstrom and colleagues from Umea University in Sweden followed 78 healthy young men from their mid-teens to early adulthood. The team measured the BMD (bone mineral density) of the total body, hip and spine at the start of the study and again when the participants were 22 and 24 years of age. The objective was to quantify a relationship between the levels of omega-3 fatty acids and bone density.

According to the journal, "The results showed that Omega-3 fatty acids, especially DHA, are positively associated with bone mineral accrual and, thus, with peak BMD in young men." Higher bone density in youth can decrease the chances of brittle bones or osteoporosis later in life.

Although osteoporosis is often associated with women, the American Osteoporosis Foundation reports that two million American men have osteoporosis. Inadequate physical exercise, smoking and use of antacids that contain aluminum are among risk factors.

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential to human health but not manufactured by the body. Therefore, they must be obtained nutritionally. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in foods including cold-water oily fish -- such as wild (not farm-raised) salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies and sardines -- as well as in flax seeds and flax seed oil.

While the FDA in 2006 gave only "qualified health claim" status to eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) omega-3 fatty acids, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported in the same year that omega-3 fatty acids lead to a decrease in "total mortality and cardiovascular incidents." The Journal of the American Medical Association concurred that regular consumption of fish contributes to lower cardiovascular risk.

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