As a followup to our previous blog post on Vitamin D, we just read the results of a very large clinical study looking at the impact of Vitamin D and Omega-3 clinical trial called VITAL. The study involved over 25,000 participants. These individuals were randomized to four groups: those receiving real Vitamin D and real Omega-3 fatty acids; those receiving real Vitamin D and a placebo (not real) Omega-3 fatty acids; those receiving placebo Vitamin D and real Omega-3 fatty acids; and, those receiving placebo Vitamin D and placebo Omega-3 fatty acids. The Omega-3 fatty acids used for this trial were marine-derived (meaning fish oil).
The initial focus of the study was to determine whether supplementation with Vitamin D (2000IU per day) and Omega-3 fatty acids (1000mg per day) was an effective measure in preventing cancer (breast, prostate, colorectal) and cardiovascular disease (heart attack and stroke). The initial findings, reported in 2019, appeared to reduce the risk of death from cancer in those who took Vitamin D supplements and reduced the risk of heart attack by 28% in those who took Omega-3 fatty acids. Some good news there.
The participants of the study were followed for five years. Because they were already enrolled in the trial, ancillary studies were completed. These included examining the impact of these supplements on diabetes, atrial fibrillation, cognition, autoimmune disorders, lung diseases, depression and other outcomes.
Autoimmune diseases are those characterized by an inflammatory response in the tissues. They are the third leading cause of disease in the industrialized world and a leading cause of death in women. They are chronic conditions. The risk of developing them increases with age. They include rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, polymyalgia rheumatica, autoimmune thyroid disease, psoriasis and all others.
Since the VITAL study included 12,786 men over the age of 50 and 13,085 women over the age of 55, the participants have provided a wealth of information for researchers in this area. The study participants were racially diverse and there was a high degree of followup, with over 93% of participants completing the trial.
The conclusions? Vitamin D supplementation for five years, with or without Omega-3 fatty acids, reduced autoimmune disease by 22%, while Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation with or without Vitamin D reduced the rate of autoimmune disease by 15%. There also appears to be an increased effect after taking the supplements over a longer period of time. When only the last three years of data was considered, there was a 30% drop in the confirmed incidence of autoimmune disease when participants took both the Vitamin D supplement and the Omega-3 supplement.
The data continues to be analyzed by researchers. To learn more, here are some links:
- VITAL researchers announce landmark trial findings
- Vitamin D and Omega-3 Trial
- Vitamin D and marine omega 3 fatty acid supplementation and incident autoimmune disease: VITAL randomized controlled trial
At Satori Integrative Medicine Clinic, we encourage our patients to incorporate lifestyle practices into daily life as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for: major depression, the depressed phase of bipolar disorder (bipolar depression), postpartum depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), pain syndromes such as fibromyalgia and complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), also known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), and addiction. Our services include integrative medicine, ketamine and lidocaine infusions, IV supplements, and medical acupuncture. If you or someone you know suffers from any of these conditions and this approach to health and wellness resonates with you, please contact us for more information.