Dynamic Duo: Vitamin D and Fish Oil
Two nutritional supplements we recommend to a vast majority of our patients are fish oil and vitamin D. Along with a good multivitamin the dynamic duo of vitamin D and fish oil serve as the core of a solid nutritional supplement program. Both vitamin D and fish oil have been in the news recently showing additional benefits not well appreciated.
Vitamin D has been linked to improvements in depression, blood pressure, and body weight in diabetic women. Vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to allergies and asthma in overweight adolescents.
Meanwhile, higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil are associated with lower risk of hip fracture. The anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3 fatty acids are thought to be responsible for the reduction in hip fractures. Fish oil has longed been known to have anti-inflammatory effects, but a recent study shed light on one mechanism that explains this anti-inflammatory effect.
Vitamin D and Depression
Twenty-five percent of diabetic women suffer from depression. In a pilot study 46 diabetic women with low vitamin D levels were investigated to see the effects of administration of 50,000 IUs of vitamin D weekly for 6 months would have. Upon completion of the study it was concluded that vitamin D levels increased significantly and improvements in depression, blood pressure, and weight were seen.
Vitamin D and Allergy and Asthma
Another recent study compared 54 obese and 32 non-obese adolescents and measured their vitamin D levels as well as levels of immunoglobulin E which plays a role in allergies. Those who were heavier (based on BMI) had lower levels of vitamin D and higher immunoglobulin E levels increasing allergy risk.
Fish Oil and Bones
Researchers at Ohio State found that post-menopausal women with higher omega-3 fatty acid levels were protected against hip fracture. The study looked at 324 women with hip fractures enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative and compared them to an equal number of women without hip fracture.
Women who had omega-3 levels in the upper third of the range had a 45% lower risk of hip fracture compared to those women who had omega-3 levels in the lower third of the range.
Another study found that DHA, one of the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil promotes the production of a class of substances known as maresins. Maresins work by turning off inflammation. Inflammation is linked to several chronic diseases and fish oil is one way to combat inflammation.
You want to take enough vitamin D to get your vitamin D blood level above 50. Recommendations for fish oil are less clear. The more disease you have the more you should take. Generally healthy individuals should consider enough fish oil to get a combined 2,000 mg of DHA and EPA a day.