Age-related bone loss is inevitable in both men and women and there will soon be more people of extreme old age than ever before. Osteoporosis is a common chronic disease and as the proportion of older people, rate of obesity and the length of life increases, a rise in age-related degenerating bone diseases, disability, and prolonged dependency is projected. Fragility fractures are one of the most severe complications associated with both primary and secondary osteoporosis and current treatment strategies target weight-bearing exercise and pharmacological intervention, both with limited long-term success. Obesity and osteoporosis are intimately interrelated, and diet is a variable that plays a significant role in bone regeneration and repair. The Western Diet is characterized by its unhealthy components, specifically excess amounts of saturated fat intake. This review examines the impact of saturated and polyunsaturated fatty acid consumption on chronic inflammation, osteogenesis, bone architecture, and strength and explores the hypothesis that dietary polyunsaturated fats have a beneficial effect on osteogenesis, reducing bone loss by decreasing chronic inflammation, and activating bone resorption through key cellular and molecular mechanisms in our aging population. We conclude that aging, obesity and a diet high in saturated fatty acids significantly impairs bone regeneration and repair and that consumption of ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids is associated with significantly increased bone regeneration, improved microarchitecture and structural strength. However, ω-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids were typically pro-inflammatory and have been associated with an increased fracture risk. This review suggests a potential role for ω-3 fatty acids as a non-pharmacological dietary method of reducing bone loss in our aging population. We also conclude that contemporary amendments to the formal nutritional recommendations made by the Food and Nutrition Board may be necessary such that our aging population are directly considered.
Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Inc.