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Balance Between Omega-3s and Omega-6 May Be Essential for Preventing Hip Fracture

Our bones become more brittle as we age and what used to be a harmless fall in our younger years can result in potentially life-threatening hip fractures. A recent study suggests, however, that there may be a link between consuming higher numbers of omega-3 fatty-acids and lower numbers of omega-6 and the risk of fracturing a hip.

The researchers in this study examined blood samples from 201 women who had experienced hip fractures and participated in the Bone Mineral Density (BMD) study, as well as 199 women with hip fractures who participated in the WHI Observational Study.

The subjects were grouped into pairs (one woman who had experienced a hip fracture and one who hadn't) that were matched based on age, race and hormone use. After analyzing the pairs, the researchers found that higher total blood levels of omega-3s and, specifically, higher levels of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) omega-3s, was associated with a lower risk of hip fracture.

They also noted that high levels of omega-6 fatty acids were associated with a higher risk of hip fracture. Omega-6 fatty acids are plentiful in the Western diet and these results suggest that consuming lower levels of omega-6 and higher levels of omega-3s may be essential for maintaining a healthy a balance between to the two and thereby potentially protecting your bone health.

Researchers from Ohio State University conducted the study. It was published in the March 2013 issue of the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.

Omega-3s have been linked to a number of health benefits, including alleviating arthritis pain, better moods, improved joint mobility, helping with age related macular degeneration, and aiding your immune system.

Because omega-3 fatty-acids are not found naturally in the human body, it is especially important to make sure that they are a part of your daily diet. Oily, dark fish such as tuna and salmon are high in DHA and EPA omega-3s.

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