A new study discovered that taking vitamin D and fish oil supplements daily may help protect older adults from acquiring autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, thyroid diseases, and polymyalgia rheumatic, an inflammatory disease that generates muscle pain and stiffness in the shoulders and hips.
According to study author Dr. Karen Costenbader, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in the division of Rheumatology, Inflammation, and Immunity and the director of the lupus program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, people aged 50 and older who took 2,000 IU (International Units) of vitamin D3 for more than five years had a 22% descending rate of confirmed autoimmune diagnoses.
According to the National Institutes of Health, that amount is two to three times the recommended daily intake of vitamin D for adults, 600 IU for those aged up to 69, and 800 IU for those aged 70 and over.
According to the research published Wednesday in the journal BMJ, after participants had been taking vitamin D for at least two years, the protection rate from autoimmune illnesses increased to 39 percent.
The research also discovered a probable correlation between ingesting 1,000 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acid (fish oil) and decreasing autoimmune illnesses. Still, the link was not statistically significant until possible instances of autoimmune disease – not just verified cases – were included.
However, the research did discover that taking both vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acid supplements, as opposed to the placebo alone, reduced autoimmune illness by roughly 30%.
Toxic Effects of Vitamin D
People should not immediately go out and start taking vitamin D tablets to increase their chances of avoiding autoimmune illness, according to Costenbader, since there are severe implications to taking too much of the supplement.
In contrast to water-soluble vitamins, which the body quickly eliminates, vitamin D is kept in the body’s fat cells and may accumulate to dangerous amounts, causing bone pain and kidney damage.
Because the organism produces vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, and milk and other foods such as cereals are frequently fortified with vitamin D, many experts believe that healthy, younger people are unlikely to require vitamin D supplements, particularly in amounts exceeding the recommended level of 600 IU/day.
Although levels do decline with age, Costenbader advises that “everyone should consult to their doctor first before taking 2000 international units of vitamin D on top of whatever else they’re taking.” “And there are other health conditions, such as kidney stones and hyperparathyroidism (an increase in calcium levels), where you should avoid taking more vitamin D.”
The body turns on itself
Costenbader’s study looked at 25,871 men and women aged 50. Up who were taking part in VITAL, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled research study to see if daily dietary pills of vitamin D3 (2000 IU) or omega-3 fatty acids (1,000 mg of Omacor fish oil) lowered the risk of developing cancer, heart disease, and stroke in people who had no prior history of these illnesses.
The increased supplementation did not avoid cardiovascular disease or cancer in that experiment.
Because a previous study has shown that vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids derived from seafood might improve inflammation and immunity in autoimmune illnesses, Costenbader decided to utilize the same study to see whether the supplements could prevent similar diseases.
Autoimmune illness develops when the body’s natural defense mechanism mistakenly perceives normal cells as intruders and starts killing them. For example, in rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system targets the joint lining, causing inflammation, swelling, and discomfort. Overactive T-cells, which are among the body’s finest defenders, generate inflammation, resulting in raised, scaly areas on the skin in psoriasis.
In Type 1 diabetes, the body’s defenses damage the pancreas’ insulin-producing cells. There is also evidence that inflammation throughout the body may have a role in the evolution of Type 2 diabetes.
Autoimmune illnesses may emerge at any age, although they are more common in older persons, especially women, according to Costenbader.
Doris’s passion for writing started to take shape in college where she was editor-in-chief of the college newspaper. Even though she ended up working in IT for more than 7 years, she’s now back to what he always enjoyed doing. With a true passion for technology, Doris mostly covers tech-related topics.