According to a new study involving post menopausal women, exercise combined with omega-3 fish oil supplementation can increase bone mineral density (BMD) up to 19% and reduce inflammatory markers by as much as 80%.
The 24-week study randomly assigned 79 post-menopausal women to one of four groups:
- a control group that did not receive supplements or an exercise plan
- an exercise plan only group
- an omega-3 supplements only group (1,000 mg omega-3 per day, of which 180 mg was EPA and 120 mg was DHA)
- a combined omega-3 supplements and exercise group
The exercise plan involved walking and jogging three times a week at up to 65% of the maximum heart rate.
At the end of the study, researchers found that the combined omega-3/exercise group experienced BMD increases of 15% in the lower back and 19% in the femur (thigh bone).
The combination group also had decreased levels of the pro-inflammatory compounds IL-6 and TNF-alpha by 40% and 80%, respectively.
No increases in BMD or decrease in inflammatory markers were observed in the other three groups.
Linking Inflammation and Bone Health
The researchers found that the decrease in inflammatory compounds correlated with the increase in BMD, suggesting that inflammatory compounds may play a role in the regulation of bone formation. Therefore, a decrease in cytokine production may be beneficial to bone mineral density. Further studies are needed to fully understand the mechanisms at work.
Read more about nutrients for healthy bones here.