A new long-term clinical study, led by Dr. Karen Costenbader, director of the Lupus Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, finds that taking vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, or both lower the risk of developing an autoimmune disease.
For the study, researchers included 25,871 adults, 51% of whom were women in the vitamin D and Omega-3 Trial (VITAL). The men participating in the study were aged 50 and over, and women were 55 and over, while the average age of the participants was 67 years.
All participants were divided into three groups. Each group received either an omega-3 placebo and a vitamin D placebo or 1 mg of an omega-3 fatty acid supplement and 2,000 IU of vitamin D, or an omega-3 placebo and 2,000 IU of vitamin D, or 1 mg of an omega-3 fatty acid supplement and a vitamin D placebo for 5.3 years.
The analysis of the received data showed that taking vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acid supplements for 5 years reduced the occurrence of autoimmune disease in older adults by 25–30%, compared with those who did not take them.