As an orthopedist I’m always on the lookout for natural ways to help prevent, and fight, osteoporosis, one of the most debilitating, independence robbing diseases of older people. Recently, a new member of the Omega oils came to my attention that I’m pretty excited about. You’ve likely heard about Omega-3’s and 9’s that are critical to your heart and brain health, but this Omega promises to have even greater benefit for your bones. It’s called Omega-7 and I’d like to share with you what I’ve learned about it.
Omega-7 Oils Fight Osteoporosis by Reducing Inflammation
If you regularly read the newsletters that my colleagues and I here at Healthy Answers put out, you’ve probably read about the damage that inflammation can do to your entire body. It can really wreak havoc on your heart, your brain, and researchers think it’s responsible for even creating cancer as well. Yet, there’s not much talk about how inflammation also leads to setting you up for developing osteoporosis.
Inflammation in your bones occurs the same way it does in the rest of your body – too many toxins (alcohol, medications, impure drinking water, environmental exposures), too high blood sugar levels (poor diet, out of control diabetes), too little antioxidants (too little fruits, vegetables, supplements) in your diet to name a few.
Once inflammation gets inside your bones, it can seriously interfere with your bones’ natural repair processes. If left unaddressed, inflammation can deteriorate your inner bone structure so significantly that they:
a) Don’t repair themselves properly – abnormalities occur and begin to out pace bone healing This leads to a weakened, problematic bone structure prone to disease.
b) Create dry, brittle, weak bones that can fracture at the slightest trauma
As I mentioned above, recent research has shown that another member of the Omega family of oils – Omega-7’s – can have a significant impact on your bone health as it has been shown to decrease inflammation perhaps even better than Omega-3’s. Omega-7’s are palmitoleic acids and research has shown them to be excellent inflammation reducers not only for your bones, but your entire body. Here are some other great health benefits:
1. Decreasing risk of type 2 diabete,s as it decreases insulin resistance
2. Prevents/reverses fatty liver and its complications
3. Lowers your CRP – C-reactive protein – levels, a marker for inflammation throughout your body which predicts your risk for heart attack and/or stroke
4. Promotes bowel health, decreasing risk for bowel cancer
5. Boosts collagen in your skin, helping it stay younger, longer
6. Boosts weight loss by suppressing appetite
So by now you may think, great! Where do I get Omega-7’s? The best food sources of Omega-7 oils come from:
1. Seabuckthorn berries – may be slightly less rich in the palmitoleic acids than macadamia oil, but still has quite a bit of it. Also, the fiber from these berries helps promote colon health. Seabuckthorn is available as a juice or in supplement form.
2. Macadamia nut oil – the richest source of palmitoleic acid Omega-7’s. 1-2 tablespoons a day can help dial down the heat of inflammation in your bones and your body.
In addition, you can buy purified Omega-7 supplements. They contain high levels of purified palmitoleic acids. Go for about 420 mg a day.
Some Additional Tips To Decrease Inflammation
In addition to Omega-7’s, all the other Omega oils also confer great health benefits. So ensuring that you’re getting enough of them in your diet is important. You should be including:
1. DHA/EPA Omega 3’s – from oily fish like salmon, trout, tuna. About 900-1000 mg a day
2. ALA Omega-3’s – from walnuts, avocado, flax seeds/oil, chia seeds, canola oil
3. Omega 5 – pomegranate seeds, fruit
4. Omega-3/9’s – olive oil
5. Also, try to follow a more alkaline-type diet of more vegetables, a fair amount of low-sugar fruits, lean protein – add more vegetable sources like legumes and nuts – and drink a lot of water which helps flush out inflammation-promoting toxins from your liver.
6. Get enough Vitamin D and magnesium which not only help build bone health, but help decrease inflammation in your body.
7. Decrease added toxins – too much alcohol (red wine is okay a few times a week), quit smoking, and avoid exposure to other environmental toxins.
The more you can fight inflammation, the better off, and healthier, your bones (and the rest of you) will be. If you have osteoporosis already, clean up your diet as much as possible, be sure your calcium and Vitamin D intake are optimal, and try to exercise as much as you possibly can to help build bone density. Also be sure to add Omega-7’s, and the rest of the Omega oils, to give your bones the best possible protection against developing, or progressing, osteoporosis.
Mark Bromson, M.D.