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Molecules 2013, 18(11), 14203-14227; doi:10.3390/molecules181114203
Review

Investigating the Role of Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Bone Development Using Animal Models

1
, 2
, 1,3,*  and 1,2,*
1 Department of Nutritional Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5S 1A8, Canada 2 Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences, College of Biological Sciences, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada 3 Center for Bone and Muscle Health, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, Brock University, St. Catharines, ON L2S 3A1, Canada
* Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 13 September 2013 / Revised: 7 November 2013 / Accepted: 8 November 2013 / Published: 15 November 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fatty Acids)
Download PDF [446 KB, 18 June 2014; original version 18 June 2014]

Abstract

Incorporating n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) in the diet may promote the development of a healthy skeleton and thereby reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis in later life. Studies using developing animal models suggest lowering dietary n-6 PUFA and increasing n-3 PUFA intakes, especially long chain n-3 PUFA, may be beneficial for achieving higher bone mineral content, density and stronger bones. To date, the evidence regarding the effects of α-linolenic acid (ALA) remain equivocal, in contrast to evidence from the longer chain products, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). This review reports the results of investigations into n-3 PUFA supplementation on bone fatty acid composition, strength and mineral content in developing animal models as well as the mechanistic relationships of PUFA and bone, and identifies critical areas for future research. Overall, this review supports a probable role for essential (ALA) and long chain (EPA and DHA) n-3 PUFA for bone health. Understanding the role of PUFA in optimizing bone health may lead to dietary strategies that promote bone development and maintenance of a healthy skeleton.
Keywords: polyunsaturated fatty acids; bone mineral density; bone biomechanical strength; nutrition; animal models; growth and development polyunsaturated fatty acids; bone mineral density; bone biomechanical strength; nutrition; animal models; growth and development
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Lau, B.Y.; Cohen, D.J.; Ward, W.E.; Ma, D.W. Investigating the Role of Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Bone Development Using Animal Models. Molecules 2013, 18, 14203-14227.

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