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News - Omega 3 plus exercise boosts post-menopausal bone health

According to a joint US-Iranian study, combining exercise and omega 3 supplements might help boost bone mineral density in older women and reduce markers of inflammation.

Seventy-nine healthy sedentary post-menopausal women aged 58-78 years participated in the new study study. Subjects were randomised to one of four groups: exercise plus supplement, exercise alone, supplement alone or a control group. The subjects in the two exercise groups performed aerobic exercise training (walking and jogging), three times a week for 24 weeks. Subjects in the two supplement groups consumed 1000mg/d of omega 3 for 24 weeks.

Bone mineral density (BMD) measurements were taken at the beginning of the study and at 12 and 24 weeks, along with blood samples to measure the participants’ levels of inflammatory markers, bone influencing hormones, vitamin D and bone turnover.

In the exercise plus supplements group, analysis showed an increase in blood levels of the bone-building hormones oestrogen and calcitonin, increased levels of vitamin D, along with increased levels of osteocalcin – a marker of bone formation and increased bone mineral density in the spine and femoral neck. What’s more, the combination group also displayed lower levels of inflammatory markers and reduced markers of bone turnover. These benefits were not seen when in the groups undertaking exercise or supplements alone.

Commenting on their results the author wrote: “The present study demonstrates that long-term aerobic exercise training plus n-3 supplementation have a synergistic effect in attenuating inflammation and augmenting BMD in post-menopausal osteoporosis.”