High-Fat Diet of Flaxseed or Safflower Oils Improve Bone Strength in Rats; Coconut Oil No Benefit

Abstract

Influence of high-fat diet from differential dietary sources on bone mineral density, bone strength, and bone fatty acid composition in rats.

Previous studies have suggested that high-fat diets adversely affect bone development. However, these studies included other dietary manipulations, including low calcium, folic acid, and fibre, and (or) high sucrose or cholesterol, and did not directly compare several common sources of dietary fat. Thus, the overall objective of this study was to investigate the effect of high-fat diets that differ in fat quality, representing diets high in saturated fatty acids (SFA), n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), or n-6 PUFA, on femur bone mineral density (BMD), strength, and fatty acid composition. Forty-day-old male Sprague-Dawley rats were maintained for 65 days on high-fat diets (20% by weight), containing coconut oil (SFA; n = 10), flaxseed oil (n-3 PUFA; n = 10), or safflower oil (n-6 PUFA; n = 11). Chow-fed rats (n = 10), at 105 days of age, were included to represent animals on a control diet. Rats fed high-fat diets had higher body weights than the chow-fed rats (p < 0.001). Among all high-fat groups, there were no differences in femur BMD (p > 0.05) or biomechanical strength properties (p > 0.05). Femurs of groups fed either the high n-3 or high n-6 PUFA diets were stronger (as measured by peak load) than those of the chow-fed group, after adjustment for significant differences in body weight (p = 0.001). As expected, the femur fatty acid profile reflected the fatty acid composition of the diet consumed. These results suggest that high-fat diets, containing high levels of PUFA in the form of flaxseed or safflower oil, have a positive effect on bone strength when fed to male rats 6 to 15 weeks of age.

Lau BY, Fajardo VA, McMeekin L, Sacco SM…
Appl Physiol Nutr Metab Oct 2010
PMID: 20962915

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