Fatty acid pattern in serum is associated with bone mineralisation in healthy 8-year-old children

Br J Nutr. 2009 Aug;102(3):407-12. doi: 10.1017/S0007114508190286. Epub 2009 Jan 28.


Animal studies have shown that fatty acids (FA) are important for normal bone development. Human data are scanty and mostly related to diseases. We hypothesised that serum FA pattern might be related to bone mineralisation in healthy children. Serum phospholipid FA pattern was studied in relation to bone parameters in eighty-five healthy Caucasian 8-year-olds. Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and blood sampling for analysis of serum phospholipid FA by capillary GLC were performed on the same day. SFA concentrations were associated with bone mineral density (BMD) of the hip, lumbar spine and total body. There was a general trend that linoleic acid (LA; 18 : 2n-6) was negatively associated with BMD, since that was found both for the LA concentration, the total n-6 concentration and the ratio of n-6:n-3 FA. Arachidonic acid (AA; 20 : 4n-6) was positively correlated with bone mineral content (BMC) and BMD of total body, as was the corresponding z-score and the AA:LA ratio. Both saturated and polyunsaturated serum phospholipid FA were associated with BMC and BMD in healthy children. LA and AA were found to inversely influence bone mineralisation and the association with the n-6:n-3 ratio suggested that this balance might also be of importance. The general trend of a negative influence of high n-6 FA concentrations on bone mineralisation might be of concern in relation to the changes in the Western diet. Longitudinal studies are necessary to verify if different bone compartments and different grades of modelling are related to different FA patterns.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Arachidonic Acid / blood
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight
  • Bone Density
  • Bone Development / physiology*
  • Calcium / blood
  • Child
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage*
  • Fatty Acids / blood*
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / blood
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-6 / blood
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Linoleic Acid / blood
  • Lumbar Vertebrae
  • Male
  • Vitamin D / blood
  • Vitamins / blood


  • Biomarkers
  • Dietary Fats
  • Fatty Acids
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-6
  • Vitamins
  • Vitamin D
  • Arachidonic Acid
  • Linoleic Acid
  • Calcium