Vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acid supplements for autoimmune disease? Read this post before you use them as a treatment or prevention!
Autoimmune disease is a condition that occurs when your immune system responds abnormally to a signal and starts attacking healthy cells, tissues, and organs in your body. The reason the immune system attacks your own cells and organs is still unclear. Moreover, there are more than 80 types of autoimmune diseases. Therefore, the best thing that you can do right now is to take preventive measures in the form of food, supplements, or lifestyle changes.
Vitamin D and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplements Can Help Prevent Autoimmune Disease
Vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acid supplements have proven benefits for bone strength and heart health. But these are not the only benefits of vitamin D and Omega-3. At the American College of Rheumatology's ACR Convergence 2021 (1), research was presented that mentions the importance of vitamin D and Omega-3 fatty acids in preventing autoimmune disease. It says that people who consumed these nutrients for at least 5 years had a lower risk of developing the autoimmune disease by 25 to 30 percent.
To confirm the effectiveness of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acid supplements (2) against autoimmune disease, a detailed study having 25871 adults was conducted. The duration of this study was about five-and-a-half years, and following 4 study groups were created:
- The first group consumed both omega-3 and vitamin D placebo
- The second group took 2000 IU of vitamin D and 1000 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids
- The third group received 2000 IU of vitamin D and omega-3 placebo
- The fourth group was given a vitamin D placebo and 1000 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids
All these groups were closely monitored for the symptoms of autoimmune disease. The results showed that the risk of relapse was decreased by 30 percent in participants suffering from autoimmune diseases, such as psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis, who took both or one of these supplements during the study. Karen Costenbader (3) said, "the effect of vitamin D appeared stronger after two years of supplementation." In the study's abstract, he mentioned that the risk could be significantly reduced in less than 5 years. According to study results, "the more pronounced effect after two to three years of use with vitamin D makes sense biologically and supports long-term use.”
Which Type of Omega-3 Fatty Acids Are Most Recommended?
There are many types of omega-3 fatty acids, and not all of them are recommended. Some are more beneficial than others due to their noticeable benefits, including fatty acids from fish oil. The commonly used omega-3 fatty acids (4) you get from fish oil are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). They are more biologically active than other fatty acids, and hence you will feel the benefits soon.
You can consume fish oil in liquid form or in capsules. Liquid Fish Oil normally has a higher oxidation ratio as its not protected by capsules, but it is a valid option if you dont mind the fishy taste. Fish oil in capsules is a much easier way to consume, but it is also important that you pay attention to the type of capsules you are consuming. Some brands use petroleum components(coating) to make the capsule digest at the intestine so you don't feel the fishy aftertaste(when a fish oil is rancid you get the fishy reflux, the very pure and fresh ones don't have any after taste or cause reflux).
Some brands also add flavour to the capsules, this is also a way to mask impurities and lack of freshness. We always recommend to take fish oil capsules as pure as possible, no colorants or flavours added and natural gelatine from a non bovine source.
Can Lack of Vitamin D Cause Autoimmune Diseases?
Yes, a lack of vitamin D increases the risk of developing autoimmune diseases (5) such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic sclerosis, multiple sclerosis, diabetes condition type 1, and inflammatory bowel disease. This will happen if the vitamin D levels in the body are very low than the required amount.
Natural Sources of Vitamin D and Omega-3
If you don't want to use supplements to get the required amount of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, you can get these from food, but you will require a large amount of foods from specific sources or an specific sun exposure protocol.
How to get Vitamin D3 from sun exposure: A minimum of 20mins/day full body exposure from 10-15h ideally, no sunscreen.
How to get Vitamin D3 from food:
- Fortified milk
- Canned tuna fish
- Certain mushrooms
- Egg yolk
- Beef liver
- Cod liver oil
- Orange juice
How to get Omega 3 from food:
- Flax seeds
- Chia seeds
Understanding any supplement's benefits and is crucial before using it. Now you know that vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acid supplements effectively prevent and treat autoimmune diseases. Thanks to the anti inflammatory effect of Omega 3 and Vitamin D3 you can control and treat autoimmune diseases.
We recommend a high dose of Vitamin D3 every day, during summer and winter, at least 2500IU units and 2000mgs of high quality fish oil a day. It is very important that your fish oil is high quality, meaning, high concentration of EPA/DHA, low levels of heavy metals, cold press, wild medium to small size fish and certified by a global organism.