Magazine article USA TODAY

Fish and Flax May Help Prevent Broken Hips

Magazine article USA TODAY

Fish and Flax May Help Prevent Broken Hips

Article excerpt

Higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the blood may reduce the risk for hip fractures in postmenopausal women, suggests a study in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. Scientists analyzed red blood cell samples from women with (and without) a history of having a broken hip. The study showed that higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids from plant and fish sources in those blood cells were associated with a lower likelihood of having fractured a hip.

In addition to omega-3s, the researchers looked at omega-6 fatty acids, which generally are plentiful in Western diets. The study also showed that, as the ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3s increases, so does the risk for hip fracture. Though the study did not define the mechanisms for these relationships, the researchers hypothesized that inflammation may contribute to bone resorption, the breaking down of bone caused by the release of cells called osteoclasts.

Broken hips are the most common osteoporosis-related fractures, with an estimated 350,000 occurring annually in the U. …

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