Vitamin D3 and long-chain omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in modulating the immune system. This is confirmed by a scientific work presented at the last annual congress of the American College of Rheumatology and recently published in the British Medical Journal. The study recalls how dietary supplementation with Vitamin D3 and Omega 3 can obtain results of great clinical and practical interest, shedding new light on the role of these compounds in countering the risk of developing autoimmune diseases. VITAMIN DE OMEGA 3 ALLIES OF THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
The study is based on solid theoretical assumptionswho recognize vitamin D and omega-3s as powerful allies of the immune system. This important role has also been investigated in a recent review by Andrea Poli, President of NFI – Nutrition Foundation of Italy, entitled “Lifestyle, nutrition and integration in the era of Covid-19. The state of the art ”, published on the Integratori e Benessere website of Integratori Italia.
«First of all – explains Andrea Poli – omega 3 have now well-known functions in the resolution of inflammatory processes thanks to their” resolvinic “activity. The long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) present at the inflammation site are convertedenzymatically in substances such as resolvine, maresine and protectin, specialized in resolving the inflammation itself “.
“The modulating effect of vitamin D on these phenomena is also confirmed – continues Poli – This vitamin, in fact, facilitates the differentiation of monocytes into macrophages and increases their ability to kill bacteria , modulates the production of inflammatory cytokines and facilitates the exposure of the antigen, which is important for activating the production of specific antibodies . Many immune cells are in fact equipped with vitamin D receptors which condition their function when activated ».SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE ON THE INCIDENCE OF AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES
In a large randomized controlled trial, the study authors evaluated the effects of treatment with long-chain vitamin D3 and / or omega-3 or a placebo. Considering the overall effectiveness of the intervention, it was observed that in the three arms of active treatment (vitamin D3 alone, omega-3 alone, or the combination of these two active ingredients) the incidence of autoimmune diseases (arthritis rheumatoid, polymyalgia rheumatica, autoimmune diseases of the thyroid gland, psoriasis) was reduced by 15-22% compared to the placebo group [1].
«The results of the study – comments Andrea Poli – are fromevident interest , in light of the fact that the autoimmune diseases considered, due to their chronicity, have a strong impact on the quality of life of those affected and their caregivers, as well as on the health system for the significant health and social costs that they generate “. THE CLINICAL AND PRACTICAL VALUE OF DIET INTEGRATION
Scientific work, conducted with rigorous methodology (being based on a randomized and controlled study), therefore suggests the ability of vitamin D3 and long-chain omega-3s to favorably influence the onset or the evolution of very different pathologies, characterized by an incorrect interaction between the body’s immune system and external triggering factors.
“It reminds us – concludes Poli – that used according to direct methods based on scientific evidence, dietary supplementation can obtain results of great clinical and practical interest , still only partially ascertained”. THE STUDY
The study was born in the context of a large randomized and controlled trial, which evaluated the effects of vitamin D3 alone or in combination with long-chain omega-3s on the incidence of cardiovascular or tumor events (the study VITAL). The main features of the VITAL study are known: approximately 26,000 participants with an average age of 67 were randomized to treatment with vitamin D3 (2000 IU / day) and / or long-chain omega-3 (1000 mg / day) or a placebo, with a median follow-up of 5.3 years.
In the population of the VITAL study, the authors evaluated the possible difference in the occurrence of autoimmune diseases between the groups randomized to the different experimental treatments tested. The theoretical assumption of this sub-study arises from the fact that both omega-3s and vitamin D3 have been associated, in observational studies, with a reduced incidence of these pathologies.
[1] Hahn J, Cook NR, Alexander EK, Friedman S, Walter J, Bubes V, Kotler G, Lee IM, Manson JE, Costenbader KH. Vitamin D and marine omega 3 fatty acid supplementation and incident autoimmune disease: VITAL randomized controlled trial. BMJ. 2022 Jan 26; 376: e066452. doi: 10.1136 / bmj-2021-066452. PMID: 35082139; PMCID: PMC8791065.

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