Can manipulation of the ratios of essential fatty acids slow the rapid rate of postmenopausal bone loss?
The rapid rate of postmenopausal bone loss is mediated by the inflammatory cytokines interleukin-1, interleukin-6, and tumor necrosis factor alpha. Dietary supplementation with fish oil, flaxseeds, and flaxseed oil in animals and healthy humans significantly reduces cytokine production while concomitantly increasing calcium absorption, bone calcium, and bone density. Possibilities may exist for the therapeutic use of the omega-3 fatty acids, as supplements or in the diet, to blunt the increase of the inflammatory bone resorbing cytokines produced in the early postmenopausal years, in order to slow the rapid rate of postmenopausal bone loss. Evidence also points to the possible benefit of gamma-linolenic acid in preserving bone density.
Altern Med Rev Feb 2001
PMID: 11207457 | Free Full Text
Borage and fish oils lifelong supplementation decreases inflammation and improves bone health in a murine model of senile osteoporosis.
Fats are prevalent in western diets; they have known deleterious effects on muscle insulin resistance and may contribute to bone loss. However, relationships between fatty acids and locomotor system dysfunctions in elderly population remain controversial. The aim of this study was to analyze the impact of fatty acid quality on the age related evolution of the locomotor system and to understand which aging mechanisms are involved. In order to analyze age related complications, the SAMP8 mouse strain was chosen as a progeria model as compared to the SAMR1 control strain. Then, two months old mice were divided in different groups and subjected to the following diets : (1) standard “growth” diet – (2) “sunflower” diet (high ω6/ω3 ratio) – (3) “borage” diet (high γ-linolenic acid) – (4) “fish” diet (high in long chain ω3). Mice were fed ad libitum through the whole protocol. At 12 months old, the mice were sacrificed and tissues were harvested for bone studies, fat and muscle mass measures, inflammation parameters and bone cell marker expression. We demonstrated for the first time that borage and fish diets restored inflammation and bone parameters using an original model of senile osteoporosis that mimics clinical features of aging in humans. Therefore, our study strongly encourages nutritional approaches as relevant and promising strategies for preventing aged-related locomotor dysfunctions.
Wauquier F, Barquissau V, Léotoing L, Davicco MJ…
Bone Feb 2012
Polyunsaturated fatty acids: biochemical, nutritional and epigenetic properties.
Dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) have effects on diverse physiological processes impacting normal health and chronic diseases, such as the regulation of plasma lipid levels, cardiovascular and immune function, insulin action and neuronal development and visual function. Ingestion of PUFA will lead to their distribution to virtually every cell in the body with effects on membrane composition and function, eicosanoid synthesis, cellular signaling and regulation of gene expression. Cell specific lipid metabolism, as well as the expression of fatty acid-regulated transcription factors, likely play an important role in determining how cells respond to changes in PUFA composition. This review will focus on recent advances on the essentiality of these molecules and on their interplay in cell physiology, leading to new perspective in different therapeutic fields.
Benatti P, Peluso G, Nicolai R, Calvani M
J Am Coll Nutr Aug 2004
PMID: 15310732 | Free Full Text
This article reviewed, among many others, the study from EPA + GLA Increases Bone Density in Elderly Women:
In a single-blind, randomized study, Kruger et al.  tested the interactions between calcium and DGLA + EPA in osteoporotic or osteopenic women. All of the women were living in the same institution for the elderly and fed the same low-calcium, non-vitamin D enriched foods, and had similar amounts of sunlight. Subjects were randomly assigned to DGLA + EPA or coconut oil (placebo group); in addition, all received 600 mg/day of calcium. Markers of bone formation/degradation and bone mineral density (BMD) were measured at baseline, 6, 12 and 18 months. At 18 months, osteocalcin and deoxypyridinoline levels fell significantly in both groups, indicating a decrease in bone turnover, whereas bone specific ALP rose indicating beneficial effects of calcium given to all the patients. Lumbar and femoral BMD, in contrast, showed different results in the two groups. Over the first 18 months, lumbar spine density remained the same in the treatment group, but decreased 3.2% in the placebo group. Femoral bone density increased 1.3% in the treatment group, but decreased 2.1% in the placebo group. During the second period of 18 months with all patients now on active treatment, lumbar spine density increased 3.1% in patients who remained on active treatment, and 2.3% in patients who switched from placebo to active treatment; femoral BMD in the latter group showed an increase of 4.7%.
Long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids alter membrane-bound RANK-L expression and osteoprotegerin secretion by MC3T3-E1 osteoblast-like cells.
Inflammation triggers an increase in osteoclast (bone resorbing cell) number and activity. Osteoclastogenesis is largely controlled by a triad of proteins consisting of a receptor (RANK), a ligand (RANK-L) and a decoy receptor (osteoprotegerin, OPG). Whilst RANK is expressed by osteoclasts, RANK-L and OPG are expressed by osteoblasts. The long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (LCPUFA) arachidonic acid (AA, 20:4n-6) and its metabolite prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), are pro-inflammatory and PGE2 is a potent stimulator of RANKL expression. Various LCPUFAs such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 20:5n-3), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3) and gamma-linolenic acid (GLA, 18:3n-6) have anti-inflammatory activity. We aimed to determine if AA itself can stimulate RANKL expression and whether EPA, DHA and GLA inhibit RANKL expression in osteoblasts. MC3T3-E1/4 osteoblast-like cells were cultured under standard conditions with each of the LCPUFAs (5microg/ml) for 48h. Membrane-bound RANKL expression was measured by flow cytometry and OPG secretion measured by ELISA. In a second experiment, RANKL expression in MC3T3-E1/4 cells was stimulated by PGE2 treatment and the effect of EPA, DHA and GLA on membrane-bound RANKL expression and OPG secretion determined. The percentage of RANKL-positive cells was higher (p<0.05) than controls following treatment with AA or GLA but not after co-treatment with the cyclooxygenase inhibitor, indomethacin. DHA and EPA had no effect on membrane-bound RANKL expression under standard cell culture conditions. Secretion of OPG was lower (p<0.05) in AA-treated cells but not significantly different from controls in GLA, EPA or DHA treated cells. Treatment with prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) resulted in an increase (p<0.05) in the percentage of RANK-L positive cells and a decrease (p<0.05) in mean OPG secretion. The percentage of RANKL positive cells was significantly lower following co-treatment with PGE2 and either DHA or EPA compared to treatment with PGE2 alone. Mean OPG secretion remained lower than controls in cells treated with PGE2 regardless of co-treatment with EPA or DHA. Results from this study suggest COX products of GLA and AA induce membrane-bound RANKL expression in MC3T3-E1/4 cells. EPA and DHA have no effect on membrane-bound RANKL expression in cells cultured under standard conditions however both EPA and DHA inhibit the PGE2-induced increase in RANKL expression in MC3T3-E1/4 cells.
Poulsen RC, Wolber FM, Moughan PJ, Kruger MC
Prostaglandins Other Lipid Mediat. Feb 2008
The effects of polyunsaturated fatty acids and their metabolites on osteoclastogenesis in vitro.
Bone homeostasis is maintained by active remodeling through the balance between resorption (by osteoclasts) and synthesis (by osteoblasts). In this study, we examined the effects of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and their metabolites on sRANKL-induced differentiation of bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMMs) into osteoclasts in vitro. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) strongly inhibited osteoclastogenesis; however, dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid (DGLA), arachidonic acid (AA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) enhanced it. The enhancement effect of PUFAs on osteoclastogenesis was mediated predominantly by cyclooxygenase (COX) products, because the effect was inhibited by a COX inhibitor. It was also found that COX products of PUFAs, prostaglandin E(1), E(2), and E(3), clearly increased in osteoclastogenesis. The inhibitory effect of DHA on osteoclastogenesis was reversed by treatment with a lipoxygenase (LOX) inhibitor. Furthermore, resolvin D1, a LOX product of DHA, significantly inhibited osteoclastogenesis. Quantitative analysis of specific mRNA levels revealed that DHA-mediated attenuation of osteoclastogenesis might be due to a decrease in DC-STAMP expression. These results suggested that the effect of DHA on osteoclastogenesis is, at least in part, mediated by lipoxygenase products. This study showed a distinct mechanism of the effect of PUFAs on osteoclastogenesis and will provide evidence for therapeutic treatment with DHA in osteoporotic patients.
Yuan J, Akiyama M, Nakahama K, Sato T…
Prostaglandins Other Lipid Mediat. Jun 2010
Calcium, gamma-linolenic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid supplementation in senile osteoporosis.
Recent animal work suggests that gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) enhance calcium absorption, reduce excretion and increase calcium deposition in bone. A pilot study was set up to test the interactions between calcium and GLA + EPA in humans. Sixty-five women (mean age 79.5), taking a background diet low in calcium, were randomly assigned to GLA + EPA or coconut oil placebo capsules; in addition, all received 600 mg/day calcium as the carbonate. Markers of bone formation/degradation and bone mineral density (BMD) were measured at baseline, 6, 12 and 18 months. Twenty-one patients were continued on treatment for a second period of 18 months, after which BMD (36 months) was measured. At 18 months, osteocalcin and deoxypyridinoline levels fell significantly in both groups, indicating a decrease in bone turnover, whereas bone specific alkaline phosphatase rose indicating beneficial effects of calcium given to all the patients. Lumbar and femoral BMD, in contrast, showed different effects in the two groups. Over the first 18 months, lumbar spine density remained the same in the treatment group, but decreased 3.2% in the placebo group. Femoral bone density increased 1.3% in the treatment group, but decreased 2.1% in the placebo group. During the second period of 18 months with all patients now on active treatment, lumbar spine density increased 3.1% in patients who remained on active treatment, and 2.3% in patients who switched from placebo to active treatment; femoral BMD in the latter group showed an increase of 4.7%. This pilot controlled study suggests that GLA and EPA have beneficial effects on bone in this group of elderly patients, and that they are safe to administer for prolonged periods of time.
Kruger MC, Coetzer H, de Winter R, Gericke G…
Aging (Milano) Oct 1998
Specific effects of gamma-linolenic, eicosapentaenoic, and docosahexaenoic ethyl esters on bone post-ovariectomy in rats.
Long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs) are involved in the regulation of bone metabolism. Increased dietary consumption of n-3, and possibly some n-6, LCPUFAs may limit postmenopausal bone loss. The aim of this study was to determine the effects on bone of specific fatty acids within the n-3 and n-6 LCPUFA families in ovariectomized (OVX) rats. Rats were OVX or sham-operated and fed either a control diet (OVX and sham) or a diet supplemented with 0.5 g/kg body weight/day of gamma-linolenic (GLA), eicosapentaenoic (EPA), docosahexaenoic (DHA) ethyl esters or a mixture of all three (MIX) for 16 weeks. Bone mineral content (BMC), area, and density and plasma concentrations of insulin-like growth factor-I, vitamin D, selected biochemical markers of bone metabolism, and parathyroid hormone (PTH) were determined. The OVX-induced decrease in lumbar spine BMC was significantly attenuated by DHA but not by EPA or GLA supplementation or supplementation with a mixture of all three LCPUFAs. Endosteal circumferences of tibiae were significantly greater in DHA and EPA compared to OVX. Plasma C-terminal telopeptide of type I collagen and osteocalcin concentrations were not significantly different in the DHA group compared to OVX. Femur BMC decreased by a significantly greater amount in GLA than OVX, and final plasma PTH concentrations were significantly higher in GLA compared to all other groups. In conclusion, DHA ameliorated OVX-induced bone mineral loss. GLA exacerbated post-OVX bone mineral loss, possibly as a result of PTH-induced bone catabolism.
Poulsen RC, Firth EC, Rogers CW, Moughan PJ…
Calcif. Tissue Int. Dec 2007