Background: Life expectancy has increased considerably over the last century in the United States. It is expected that this longevity will be accompanied by an increase in the prevalence of osteoporosis and accompanying complications in the elderly population.

Objective: Age-related loss of bone mass and bone fragility are major risk factors for osteoporosis, leading to an increased risk of fractures. Therefore, nutritional strategies and lifestyle changes that prevent age-related osteoporosis and improve the quality of life for the elderly population are urgently needed.

Design: Hence, the present study compared the effects of corn oil (CO; n-6 fatty acids; commonly present in Western diets) and fish oil (FO; n-3 fatty acids) on bone mineral density (BMD) in aging C57BL/6 female mice. After 6 months of dietary treatment, we found that 18-month-old FO-fed mice maintained higher BMD in different bone regions compared to CO-fed mice.
Results: These findings were accompanied by a decreased activity of pro-inflammatory cytokines, tumor necrosis factor-alpha and interleukin-6 in stimulated splenocytes; a nonsignificant but greater increase in bone formation markers alkaline phosphatase and osteocalcin in the serum; and lower osteoclast generation in bone marrow cell cultures in FO-fed mice.

Conclusion: In conclusion, these findings suggest that providing n-3 fatty acids may have a beneficial effect on bone mass during aging by modulating bone formation and bone resorption factors.