Daily supplementation of vitamin D and omega 3 would reduce the risk of autoimmune diseases

Rheumatoid arthritis, polymyalgia rheumatica, thyroid disease, psoriasis… autoimmune diseases, which often develop in exacerbations, are caused by a dysfunction of the immune system, which attacks the body’s healthy cells. These pathologies are incurable and require lifelong treatment (corticosteroids or biotherapy) to suppress the immune system. However, if it is not possible to cure them today, it may be easy to prevent them with a daily supplement of vitamin D and/or omega 3. This is indeed what American scientists have recently noticed. Their study was published in the journal British Medical Journal (BMJ).

To draw their conclusions, researchers conducted a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. They followed a total of 25,871 people (men and women combined) for 5.3 years. The average age of the participants was 67 years. Before the study, various information was collected about their lifestyle, weight, medical history, diet and supplement use. Blood levels of vitamin D and omega 3 fatty acids were also measured in all subjects. Then they were divided into several groups. One received vitamin D (2000 IU per day) and the second received a matching placebo. The same with omega 3 fatty acids: one group received 1,000 mg per day, while the other received a similar placebo.

With vitamin D, the risk is reduced by 22%.

During the study, participants had to self-report the possible occurrence of autoimmune diseases, which was confirmed by a comprehensive review of medical records. And when the documents were not enough to confirm them, the individuals were classified as “probable” cases.
Results: Vitamin D supplementation with or without omega-3 fatty acids for five years reduced autoimmune disease by 22% (123 participants in the vitamin D group compared to 155 in the placebo group). In addition, omega-3 fatty acid supplementation reduced the incidence of autoimmune disease by 15% (130 confirmed cases were diagnosed in the supplement group compared to 148 in the placebo group). And taking into account probable cases, this number increased to 18%.

Another observation: the duration of supplementation would increase this protective effect. When only the last three years of the study were considered, there were 39% fewer confirmed cases in the vitamin D group than in the placebo group. It’s here”the first direct evidenceDaily supplementation with either agent or a combination of vitamin D and omega 3 fatty acids reduces the incidence of autoimmune diseases, the researchers say, and the effects are more pronounced after two years.

There are more and more autoimmune diseases in the world

For the authors of the study, their discovery is a big step forward. And for good reason, the treatments available to date have mostly reduced and controlled the symptoms of autoimmune diseases. However, vitamin D and omega 3 are “well tolerated non-toxic supplements”, already known for their positive effects on inflammation and immunity, are also easily found in the diet. However, the researchers have one caveat: Although the study participants were large and included a diverse population, only one dose and formulation of each supplement was tested.
Also, this observation cannot yet be applied to younger people. To confirm these promising results, the researchers will continue “followed participants for two years in an extension study to test the timing of this autoimmune disease-reducing effect“. Finally, “further studies should be conducted in younger populations and those at high risk for autoimmune diseases.

Today, 5 to 8% of the world’s population suffers from autoimmune diseases. This rate has been steadily increasing over the past forty years. There are 80 of them and mostly women suffer (80%). If scientists are increasingly pointing the finger at our environment for exposure to various chemicals, UV rays, or smoking, antibiotic use may also play a role.

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