Intake of omega-3 and peak bone mass


Bone is a living tissue. Throughout life, bone is constantly remodeling through two processes, resorption and formation: during resorption, a type of cells called osteoclasts remove old bone tissue; during formation, new bone tissue is deposited to replace the old one. Bone remodeling serves to adjust bone architecture to meet changing mechanical needs and it helps to repair micro damages preventing the accumulation of old bone. During childhood and adolescence, new bone is added to the skeleton faster than old bone is removed, so the skeleton grows in both size and density. Up to 90% the maximum strength and density of the bones (peak bone mass) is acquired by age 18 in girls and by age 20 in boys, although bone tissue can keep growing until around age 30.

In the first 4 to 8 years after menopause, there is a rapid bone loss in most women, which can lead to osteoporosis. A woman is more likely to develop osteoporosis if she did not reach her maximum peak bone mass during the bone-building years.

In healthy young women (19-25 years), an adequate omega-3 fatty acids intake may help maximize bone mineral density at the hip: intake of EPA plus DHA and physical activity are significantly related to hip bone mineral density.

Given that high peak bone mass reduces osteoporosis risk later in life, it makes sense to pay attention to modifiable factors that affect it, such as diet and exercise habits. Prevention is important because although there are treatments for osteoporosis, a cure has not yet been found. 


Kuroda T, Ohta H, Onoe Y, Tsugawa N, Shiraki M. Intake of omega-3 fatty acids contributes to bone mineral density at the hip in a younger Japanese female population. Osteoporos Int. 2017 Jun 23. [Epub ahead of print]

National Institutes of Health Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases. What Is Bone? May 2015.

National Institutes of Health Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases. Osteoporosis: Peak Bone Mass in Women. June 2015