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February 17th 08, 10:07 PM
Maintaining a proper balance of dietary fats may decrease the levels
of bone loss associated with post-menopausal osteoporosis, according
to a recent study by scientists at Purdue University and the Indiana
University School of Medicine.

Estrogen deficiency, which is common in post-menopausal women, is a
main contributor to bone loss. Research has found that diets with a
low ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids can minimize
this. Omega-6 fatty acids are typically found in foods such as grains
and beef, while omega-3 fatty acids are found in foods such as walnuts
and salmon.

Several research studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids help
promote bone formation according to Bruce Watkins, professor and
director of Purdue's Center for Enhancing Foods to Protect Health.
That research also indicates that higher intakes of omega-6 fatty
acids lead to an increased production of compounds associated with
bone loss."

The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry discusses a current study that
assesses bone mineral content and bone mineral density in female rats.
These measurements are used as indicators of bone mass and bone
strength, respectively. Half the rats in the study had their ovaries
removed, which leads to a rapid drop in estrogen levels. This mimics
menopause and is the standard model for studying compounds that
alleviate osteoporosis, explains Mark Seifert, a professor of anatomy
and cell biology at the Indiana University School of Medicine and the
study's co-author. He also believes that studies like this will help
researchers assess drugs or nutraceuticals that may reduce the bone
loss that is induced by menopause.

In the study, groups of these rats were fed diets containing different
ratios of omega-6 to omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Although
both types of fats are essential for human health, diets with a high
ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids are often
associated with cancer, cardiovascular disease, and inflammatory and
autoimmune diseases. However, diets with a low ratio of omega-6 to
omega-3 fatty acids are thought to promote cardiovascular health,
improve

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