Omega-3 has significant effect on bone strength, study shows

18 October 2011

Healthcare research has shown that fatty acids such as omega-3 cap down throughout could substantially reduce the signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis.

Researchers at the University of Bristol found that diets rich in omega-3 reduced the chance of contracting the disease by 50 per cent.

Published in the journal Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, the study was formed through tests that were carried out on guinea pigs. Some were fed a standard diet, while others were given food containing high levels of omega-3.

The fatty acid, sourced from fish oil or flax oil, was shown to have a profound effect on the symptoms of osteoarthritis and indicated that the old wives' tale about fish oils being good for bones is actually factual.

Leader of the research, Dr John Tarlton, from the Matrix Biology Research group at the University of Bristol's School of Veterinary Sciences, said: "Most diets in the developed world are lacking in omega-3, with modern diets having up to 30 times too much omega-6 and too little omega-3."

He added that taking omega-3 will help redress this imbalance and may positively contribute to preventing a range of other health problems such as heart disease and colitis.

Osteoporosis or "porous bone" is a disease of the skeletal system characterised by low bone mass and the deterioration of bone tissue.

Posted by Philip Briggs

Tarlton, John, et al., "Regulation of osteoarthritis by omega-3 (n-3) polyunsaturated fatty acids in a naturally occurring model of disease", Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, September 2011.

Health News is provided by Adfero in collaboration with Spire Healthcare. Please note that all copy above is ©Adfero Ltd. and does not reflect views or opinions of Spire Healthcare unless explicitly stated. Additional comments on the page from individual Spire consultants do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of other consultants or Spire Healthcare.

Find a treatment, test or scan available at:


Find a consultant

Use one or more of the options below to search for a consultant and link through to view their Spire profile.


Let us help you

fill out this form and we will get back to you:

Please select a hospital

We can call you

Please enter your details below and we will call you back.

What is the aim of your enquiry?

Please select a hospital

If we are unable to reach you by phone, please include your email address so that we can get in touch...


Orthopaedic surgery

© Spire Healthcare Group plc (2016)