Habitual use of fish oil supplements, genetic predisposition, and risk of fractures: a large population-based study

Zhendong Mei, Guo Chong Chen, Jianying Hu, Chenhao Lin, Zhonghan Sun, Chenglin Liu, Xin Geng, Changzheng Yuan, Qibin Qi, Yan Zheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Epidemiologic studies have suggested an inverse association between circulating concentrations of long-chain ω-3 PUFAs and fracture risk. However, whether supplementation of long-chain ω-3 PUFA (i.e. fish oil) is associated with fracture risk, and whether the association is modified by genetic predisposition to fracture risk remain unclear. Objectives: To evaluate the associations of habitual fish oil supplement use with fracture risk, and to explore the potential effect modification by genetic predisposition. Methods: This study included 492,713 participants from the UK Biobank who completed a questionnaire on habitual fish oil supplement use between 2006 and 2010. HRs and 95% CIs for fractures were estimated from multivariable Cox proportional hazards models. A weighted fracture-genetic risk score (GRS) was derived from 14 validated single nucleotide polymorphisms. Results: During a median follow-up of 8.1 y, 12,070 incident fractures occurred among participants free of fracture at baseline (n = 441,756). Compared with nonuse, habitual use of fish oil supplements was associated with a lower risk of total fractures (HR = 0.93; 95% CI: 0.89, 0.97), hip fractures (HR = 0.83; 95% CI: 0.75, 0.92), and vertebrae fractures (HR = 0.85; 95% CI: 0.72, 0.99). The inverse association for total fractures was more pronounced among participants having a higher fracture-GRS than among those with a lower fracture-GRS (P-interaction <0.001). Among participants with a history of fracture at baseline (n = 50,957), fish oil use was associated with a lower risk of total recurrent fractures (HR = 0.88; 95% CI: 0.82, 0.96) and vertebrae recurrent fractures (HR = 0.64; 95% CI: 0.46, 0.88) but not with hip fracture recurrence. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that habitual fish oil supplement use is associated with lower risks of both incident and recurrent fractures. The inverse associations of fish oil use with total fractures appeared to be more pronounced among individuals at higher genetic risk of fractures than those with lower genetic risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)945-954
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2021


  • UK Biobank
  • fish oil supplements
  • fracture
  • genetic predisposition
  • prospective study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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