Omega-3/Bone Loss

Monday - 5/17/2010, 2:17pm EDT

NASA-sponsored studies have found that omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil may play a role in mitigating bone loss that occurs during spaceflight, and in osteoporosis. Researchers say, the solution could have significant implications for space travelers and those susceptible to bone loss on Earth.

Ongoing research has looked for ways to stop bone density loss in astronauts for decades. It's one of the main effects of exposure to the weightlessness of space.

Researchers found that astronauts who ate more fish lost less bone mineral after four-to-six-month-long spaceflights. In a series of cell-based studies, scientists documented that adding a specific omega-3 fatty acid to cells would inhibit the activation of factors that lead to bone breakdown.

The studies were conducted by a team of scientists across multiple disciplines at Johnson Space Center in Houston.