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Combine Exercise and Omega-3 for Better Bone Health

As the average American lifespan increases, maintaining bone health becomes more and more important. Broken bones can have serious repercussions, ranging from reduced mobility to death. If you're looking to protect yourself, a recent study from Urmia University in Iran suggests that combining exercise and omega-3 supplementation may reduce inflammation and improve bone mineral density.

The study was published on October 15, 2011 in Nutrition & Metabolism.

Participants included 79 post-menopausal women between the ages of 58 and 78 who lived sedentary lifestyles but were otherwise healthy. The women were split into four groups. One group exercised and took omega-3 supplements, one group only exercised, one group only consumed omega-3 supplements, and one group was a control that participated in neither intervention.

The two groups that included exercise participated in aerobic exercise three times a week. The omega-3 supplementation consisted of 1,000 mg daily. Blood markers for inflammation and bone mineral density were measured at the onset of the study, after 12 weeks, and after 24 weeks.

At the conclusion of the study, researchers noted improvement in blood markers for inflammation and increased bone mineral density in the lumbar spine in the exercise and supplement group, but not in the groups who only exercised or only took supplements. They concluded that the combination of omega-3 supplementation and aerobic exercise results in improved bone health.

Omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to an impressive number of health benefits, including warding off age-related cognitive decline, reducing the risk of age-related vision loss, reducing depression symptoms, lowering cholesterol and preventing heart failure. These essential nutrients can be found in darker fish (such as salmon or tuna), or can be obtained via a high quality supplement.

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