September 7, 2006 Ogden, UT — Research supports the use of omega-3 fatty acids—eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)—in promoting bone formation and maintenance. The same is also true of boron, a trace mineral. A recent study, however, suggests that both omega-3 fatty acids and boron together may promote bone strength.
To determine whether changes in bone composition, shape, and strength are influenced by boron deprivation as well as the fatty acid content of the diet, researchers from the USDA’s (United States Department of Agriculture) Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center fed rat pups either a low or boron-supplemented diet with palm (low omega-3) or canola (high omega-3) oil.
Researchers then tested femur strength and tibial concentrations of certain minerals. Bone strength and flexibility were lowest in the boron-deprived rats fed canola oil, yet were greatest in boron-supplemented rats fed canola oil.
Interestingly, both boron and fatty acids affected the concentration of minerals in bone. Certain minerals (zinc and potassium) associated with bone organic matrix—where bone is formed—were increased by boron supplementation. The findings, states author Forrest Nielsen, suggests that a diet high in omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid promotes bone strength best when the diet contains high levels of boron.
Boron is an essential trace mineral for plants and animals. Although it has not yet been deemed an essential trace mineral for humans, there is mounting evidence that it performs a number of crucial roles in the body including bone and joint health and cognition.
Source: Nielsen FH. Dietary fat composition modifies the effect of boron on bone characteristics and plasma lipids in rats. Biofactors. 2004; 20(3):161-71.
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