Can a Fish a Day Keep a Hip Fracture Away?

Recent research speaks to the potential benefits of a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids

Calcium is often cited as the key to healthy bones for older women, but a recent study conducted at Ohio State University suggests that omega-3 fatty acids might play an important role, as well.

The research analyzed red blood cells from two groups of women, who respectively had and hadn’t experienced broken hips in their lifetimes, to determine if omega-3s had any effect. Broken hips are the most common of fractures caused by osteoporosis. In the United States alone, there are 350,000 cases a year.

Said the study’s senior author, Rebecca Jackson, “Inflammation is associated with an increased risk of bone loss and fractures, and omega-3 fatty acids are believed to reduce inflammation. So we asked if we could see fractures decrease in response to omega-3 intake.”

While the research did not determine concrete cause and effect — and thus cannot confirm that more omega-3s in your diet will reduce your risk of hip fractures, the study did discover a promising pattern.

According to Tonya Orchard, the first author of the study, “Though it’s premature to make a nutrition recommendation based on this work, I do think this study adds a little more strength to current recommendations to include more omega-3s in the diet in the form of fish, and suggests that plant sources of omega-3 may be just as important for preventing hip fractures in women.”


Omega-3 rich foods include flaxseeds as well as fish.