Benefits Of Vitamin D And Omega 3
Sunlight, a great natural source of vitamin D
We all celebrate and love sunny days and another benefit is the vitamin D we get from the sun. Vitamin D provides many health benefits including helping fight against inflammation and heart disease.
The natural way to get vitamin D is to absorb it through direct sun exposure on our skin (ie. not through clothing or sunscreens) for 20 minutes every day. However, nowadays, very few of us have adequate levels of vitamin D in our bodies.
Some of the effects of vitamin D deficiency
When our bodies become deficient in vitamin D, we can become more susceptible to a variety of illnesses including:
- diabetes and
- chronic pain.
Some studies have shown links between vitamin D deficiency and up to 46% of all cancer deaths1.
Benefits of supplementing with vitamin D
With winter often being cold and flu season, vitamin D has been found to reduce your chances of getting colds and flu by almost 100%. With sufficient vitamin D, your immune cells are better able to recognize invaders and respond to an infection. In one study, only 1 of 104 test subjects developed either a cold or flu during the winter season after supplementing with vitamin D2.
Other studies have found that vitamin D can have a helpful effect in those with clinical depression by enhancing their mood and reducing negative symptoms3. In addition, those with chronic pain and fatigue have shown benefits when supplementing with vitamin D.
What dosage to take
In terms of dosage, you can generally use your body weight as a guide. For every 40lbs of body weight, you can take 1000IU of vitamin D. For example, if you weighed 200lbs, you could then take up to 5000IU of vitamin D daily.
Potential risks of too much vitamin D
There are few risks to taking vitamin D. However, if you are taking any prescription medications, especially any:
- calcium channel blockers,
- cholesterol medications,
- prednisone or
- medication for irregular heart rhythms or psoriasis
you should consult with your family doctor first before supplementing with vitamin D
Omega 3 versus omega 6
Another supplement with far ranging health benefits is omega 3. A rich source of natural omega 3 and its components EPA and DHA are found in fish. Ideally, we should strive for a healthy balance between omega 3 and omega 6 of 1:14. However, with today’s diet, we often have too much omega 6 in our bodies and not enough omega 3, even sometimes being greater than 10:1 omega 6 to omega 3.
Some of the effects of omega 3 deficiency
While omega 6 has been linked to issues such as cancer and inflammation, omega 3 does the opposite and can help with reducing risk of cancer and inflammation5, much like vitamin D. Omega 3 acts by being broken down and converted into components that inhibit the enzyme cyclo-oxygenase (COX) which is responsible for sparking the inflammatory process in your body. Omega 3 is also important in helping against:
- heart disease and
What dosage to take
When deciding how much omega 3 to take via supplements, the average adult can generally take 1-2g per day. There are very few risks to supplementing with omega 3. However, if you are taking any prescription medications, especially blood thinners or medications to help control your blood sugar levels, you should consult with your family doctor first before starting any supplementation with omega 3.
Good food sources of omega 3
Other sources of omega 3 include flaxseed oil and cod liver oil. However, the omega 3 found in flaxseed oil is a different form for which the health benefits are not as clear. Cod liver oil is also another option but typically has lower concentrations of EPA and DHA.
As with vitamin D, speak with your family doctor first before adding omega 3 supplements to your daily routine
Frequently Asked Questions About Omega 3 And Vitamin D
Q: Can vitamin D and omega-3 be taken together?
A: Both Vitamin D and omega 3 can certainly be taken together, as the 2 supplements do not conflict with each other. In fact, it may be good to take them together. They each have important roles in maintaining your health.
Areas such as hearth health, immunity and brain health may benefit from these supplements. Also, some studies have looked into how vitamin D and omega 3 can have a positive role in fighting cancer and chronic inflammation
Q: Is omega-3 rich in vitamin D?
A: Some food sources will contain both omega 3 and vitamin D. One of the main sources of vitamin D is natural sunlight. Other food sources of vitamin D include certain orange juices, egg yolk, fish, fortified milk or yogurt, liver and some mushrooms. Similar to vitamin D, omega 3 can also be found in fish. It is also in chia seed, flaxseed, meat and walnuts
Q: Does vitamin D and omega-3 help with depression?
A: There have been some research looking into the connection between vitamin D, omega 3 and depression. Some of the studies suggest that there may be a possible benefit of taking vitamin D or omega 3 but more research should be done to look further into this potential benefit
Q: Should I speak with my family doctor before deciding to supplement with vitamin D or omega 3?
A: Yes, it is always recommended to see your family doctor before adding any vitamins or supplements to your diet. This is even more important if you are already taking certain medications to avoid any conflicts, or if you have any pre-existing health conditions
1. Jemal A. Cancer Statistics. CA Caner J Clin. 2007 Jan-Feb;57(1):43-66
2. Aloia J. Epidemic Influenza and Vitamin D. Epidemiology and Infection. 2007;vol 135(7):1095-1098
3. Stewart Leavitt. Vitamin D – A Neglected “Analgesic” for Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain. Pain Treatment Topics. 2008
4. Eaton. Paleolithic Nutrition Revisited: A Twelve Year Retrospective on its Nature and Implications. Eur J Clin Nutr. 1997;51:207-216
5. Maroon JC. Omega-3 Fatty Acids (Fish Oil) as an Anti-Inflammatory: An Alternative to Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs for Discogenic Pain. Surgical Neurology. 2006;65(3):326-331