Update on Vitamin D and Fish Oil SupplementationPrint
By Harry Fulton
Higher potencies of omega-3s and vitamin D, combined with blood testing, are demonstrating remarkable health benefits.
Vitamin D and fish oil are some of today’s most popular dietary supplements. One reason many people take them is widespread news coverage showing marked reductions of degenerative disorders in response to higher intake of these nutrients.
Since it is no longer “news” that fish oil and vitamin D favorably influence human health, some media sources run tabloid-like headlines that often misinterpret findings from clinical trials.
A clinical trial called VITAL used modest potencies of EPA/DHA from fish oil and vitamin D3 that did not meet challenging primary clinical endpoints. This caused many media sources to proclaim there to be no value in supplementing with these low-cost nutrients.
That’s regrettable because people who need them the most, i.e. those living in difficult socioeconomic circumstances, are often more adversely impacted by a lack of these kinds of protective nutrients.
This article describes studies in which higher potencies of omega-3s or vitamin D have demonstrated remarkable health benefits.
Vitamin D and Cardiovascular Health
An explosion of research in recent decades has demonstrated that vitamin D impacts almost every aspect of health, including protection from cardiovascular health issues. As new studies have been published, many experts have revised their recommendations upward for daily vitamin D intake and blood levels. A similar link between vitamin D levels and cardiovascular disease has been demonstrated in medical research.
Several studies have shown that lower vitamin D levels are associated with high blood pressure, elevated blood glucose, atherosclerotic plaque in blood vessels, arterial stiffness, and higher rates of cardiovascular events [10-19/1-10].
In humans, vitamin D supplementation can reduce some of these markers of blood vessel disease. For example, 4,000 IU daily was shown to reduce arterial stiffness.[15,19/6,10]
What You Need to Know
VITAMIN D AND FISH OIL UPDATE
- The health benefits of omega-3s and vitamin D supplementation are well documented.
- Research shows that vitamin D and omega-3s offer protection against cardiovascular issues.
- Life Extension recommends doses of 5,000 IU to 8,000 IU of vitamin D and 2,400 mg of EPA/DHA from fish oil daily to maintain optimal levels. Regular blood testing is important to guide adjustments to these doses to achieve the maximum benefits.
- Experts suggest maintaining blood levels between 50 ng/mL and 80 ng/mL for vitamin D and an omega-3 index of 8% to 12%.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Cardiovascular Disease
Several studies have shown a close link between high levels of omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil and protection from aspects of cardiovascular health issues.
Several other studies using daily doses of 2,000 mg to 4,000 mg of fish oil have also shown benefits for various cardiovascular issues [28-30/11-13].
It is important to note that comprehensive management of cardiovascular health requires a comprehensive assessment of risk factors beyond cholesterol and blood pressure.
A paradigm shift is crucially needed to move away from focusing on a single number for LDL-cholesterol to focusing on the complete patient, by taking into account a range of biomarkers that can yield additional insight.
Although lowering low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) is a primary target for cardiovascular health management, lifestyle related factors, such as tobacco use, obesity and sedentary routines, are also very important [31/14].
In addition, many other risk factors, such as insulin resistance, hormonal imbalances, hypercoagulable states, hyperhomocysteinemia, vascular inflammation, hyperglycemia, and others also play important roles [32/15].
Nutrients like magnesium, CoQ10, fish oil omega-3s, vitamin K2, and others also play an important, underappreciated role in cardiovascular health [30,33-48/13, 16-31]
Further, advanced testing of lipoprotein fractionation identifies the full spectrum of lipoprotein particles, along with direct quantification of particles in each lipoprotein subclass fraction.
The sub-particles of LDL have a set of distinct properties including size and density. The small LDL particles are much more strongly related to risk than the larger LDL particles. Advanced lipoprotein subclass testing (such as the NMR blood test) provides additional information not otherwise identified through routine lipid testing for total cholesterol, LDL, HDL and triglycerides.
Research has shown that vitamin D and omega-3s impact almost every aspect of health, including protection from cardiovascular health issues.
Life Extension® recommends doses of 5,000 IU to 8,000 IU of vitamin D and 2,400 mg of EPA/DHA from fish oil daily to maintain optimal levels. Regular blood testing is important to guide adjustments to these doses to achieve the maximum benefits.
Experts suggest maintaining blood levels between 50 ng/mL and 80 ng/mL for vitamin D and an omega-3 index of 8% to 12%.
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