Polyunsaturated fatty acids and their relation with bone and muscle health in adults

Curr Osteoporos Rep. 2013 Sep;11(3):203-12. doi: 10.1007/s11914-013-0149-0.


Age-related bone and muscle loss are major public health problems. Investigational therapies to reduce these losses include anti-inflammatory dietary supplementations, such as polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). Surprisingly, this topic has received little attention in the osteoporosis community. Recent research highlights the role of PUFA in inflammatory regulation of bone remodeling via cellular pathways. Emerging research suggests significant roles for PUFA in reducing bone and muscle loss with aging; however, findings are conflicted for PUFA and fracture risk. Limited studies suggest a relation between higher omega-3 FA and better muscle/bone in older adults. This review highlights new research since 2008 and synthesizes our current understanding of PUFA in relation to bone and muscle. Across study designs, evidence indicates that PUFA has positive effects upon bone. As data are sparse, future clinical trials and prospective studies are important to determine the long term benefits of PUFA supplementation upon bone and muscle outcomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / drug effects
  • Aging / physiology
  • Bone Density / drug effects
  • Bone Density / physiology
  • Bone Resorption / epidemiology
  • Bone Resorption / prevention & control
  • Bone and Bones / drug effects*
  • Bone and Bones / physiology
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / pharmacology*
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Fractures, Bone / epidemiology
  • Fractures, Bone / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Risk Factors


  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated