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Yesterday's post was about how several well-done large studies did not find the health benefits from vitamin D supplements that the researchers had hoped for. In one of the studies (the VITAL trial) discussed yesterday, Vitamin D supplements did not prevent cancer or cardiovascular events (e.g., stroke, heart attack), which was the focus of the study.

But... one positive finding (in a separate analysis of the study results) did come out of the study: vitamin D supplements reduced the incidence of autoimmune disease by 22% over the 5+ years of the VITAL trial. This included rheumatoid arthritis, polymyalgia rheumatica, autoimmune thyroid disease, and psoriasis.

The more than 25,000 participants (all older than 50 years) took vitamin D 2000 IUs daily or 1 g marine omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) daily,  or both, or none for more than 5 years. Only the vitamin D supplementation (whether taken alone or with fish oil) had a statistically significant health effect.

From Medical Xpress: Study finds vitamin D supplements with or without Omega-3s decreased risk of autoimmune diseases

Autoimmune diseases (AD) such as rheumatoid arthritis, polymyalgia rheumatica, autoimmune thyroid disease and psoriasis, are a leading cause of morbidity and mortality as people age. Few effective treatments are available for AD, but some preclinical studies have hinted that supplements, including vitamin D and omega-3 (or n-3) fatty acids, may have beneficial effects. In a new study published in BMJ, investigators from Brigham and Women's Hospital evaluated whether taking vitamin D and/or omega fatty acid supplements could affect rates of AD.  ...continue reading "Vitamin D Supplements and Autoimmune Disease"