Serum Fatty Acid Imbalance in Bone Loss:
Example with Periodontal Disease

This section is compiled by Frank M. Painter, D.C.
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FROM:   Clin Nutr 2000 (Aug); 19 (4): 271276

Requirand P, Gibert P, Tramini P, Cristol JP, Descomps B

Faculty of Dentistry of Montpellier,
Institute of Biology,
Montpellier, France

Commentary:   People often use omega-3 fatty acids to reduce the inflammation associated with arthritis. As it turns out, these fatty acids may actually help prevent bone loss. French researchers found that high levels of pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids were strongly associated with bone loss in a group of 105 periodontal patients. The use of omega-3 supplements 360 mg/day of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 240 mg/day of docasahexanoic acid (DHA) appeared to decrease production of proinflammatory prostaglandin E2 in bone. Significantly, it also stopped bone loss.

ABSTRACT: Among the numerous factors of bone remodelling, the local action of arachidonic acid metabolites together with cytokines, is particularly important, especially that of prostaglandin PGE2. It has been suggested that the alveolar bone destruction in periodontal disease and osteoporosis can be treated by reducing the ratio of arachidonic acid in phospholipids, which would diminish prostaglandin production. The aim of this study was to evaluate the main serum polyunsaturated fatty acids and a possible alteration in the level of arachidonic acid in patients suffering from periodontal bone loss. Of the 105 patients who participated the study, 78 were suffering from periodontal bone loss and 27 served as a control group. The fatty acids were measured in serum by gas-chromatography. The results showed that the level of fatty acids of the n-6 pathway was higher in our patients with bone loss than in the control group, whereas the reverse was observed with fatty acids of the n-3 pathway. In conclusion, our patients' bone losses are linked with an imbalance between n-6 and n-3 fatty acids, which seems to justify a diet increase in 20- and 22-carbon fatty acids.


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