A new study from Spain suggests that regular intake of fish containing vitamin D, calcium and omega-3 fatty acids may be of importance to maintain bone mass.
The observational study measured fish intake and bone mass of the phalanges of 151 healthy women with mean age of 35 years (1). The study results showed significantly higher bone mass in the group with a fish intake of 5–7 servings per week, compared to 0–2 servings per week. Participants who ate fish frequently (four or more servings per week) had significantly higher levels of vitamin D than the women who ate fish less than three times per week.
The researchers concluded that increased fish consumption may be helpful in maintaining an adequate bone mass. Regular fish consumption is recommended for a healthy diet. Spain has one of the highest annual per capita consumptions of fish worldwide with an average of 100 g per person per day. As (especially oily) fish is a rich source of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamins (such as A and D), minerals (e.g., calcium and magnesium) and trace elements (e.g., selenium and zinc) – nutrients that were shown to have positive effects on bone characteristics – it has been proposed that consuming fish could improve bone health. In Spain, fish consumption accounts for 87% of total dietary vitamin D intake.