Vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients involved in numerous metabolic processes that play a significant role in many chronic health conditions. Over the past several years numerous studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acid supplementation can effect serum vitamin D levels, however, the results have been inconsistent. This may have been due to the dose, duration, or statistical power of the studies.

According to a review published two weeks ago in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, researchers investigated the effect of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on vitamin D levels.

This meta-analysis consisted of 10 randomized controlled trials with a total of 601 participants that reported circulating vitamin D levels before and after supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids. As a result, there was a significant increase in vitamin D levels following omega-3 fatty acid intake. Vitamin D levels were significantly increased by approximately 9 ng/ml when supplementation was longer than 8 weeks and when the baseline vitamin D level was less than 20 ng/ml. Also, dosing at 1 gram per day resulted in higher vitamin D levels compared to other dosages but all doses led to an increase in vitamin D levels.

The relationship between vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids is unclear. Deficiencies or insufficiencies of these two nutrients are important health concerns in clinical practice. This review specifically looked at the effect of omega-3 fatty acids on vitamin D levels, however, it is still optimal to assess both of these nutrients and address accordingly. This study demonstrates the significance of the interrelationships different nutrients have with one another and importance of a comprehensive approach over monotherapies.

Previous research has shown these the intricate interrelationships among the fat soluble vitamins, magnesium and vitamin D levels, and omega-3 fatty acid status and B-vitamins. A study published in 2018 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition demonstrated that magnesium can also increase vitamin D levels similarly to omega-3 supplementation. Also, a study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease demonstrated that B vitamins had no effect on cognitive decline when omega-3 levels are low but when omega-3 levels were in a normal upper range, B vitamins slow cognitive decline and brain atrophy.

By Michael Jurgelewicz, DC, DACBN, DCBCN

Source: Alhabeeb H, Kord-Varkaneh H, et al. The influence of omega-3 supplementation on vitamin D levels in humans: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2020 Dec 25;1-8.


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