Preventing a nutritional deficiency is the biggest benefit of taking vitamin D-3 plus fish oil. Studies published to date haven’t explored the advantages of combining the two, but individually, vitamin D-3 and fish oil support your bones, blood vessels and immune system. Large doses of supplements can cause side effects and interact with medications, so talk to your doctor to be sure they’re safe.
Vitamin D-3 and Fish Oil Basics
Vitamin D-3, or cholecalciferol, is the type of vitamin D synthesized when your skin absorbs sunlight. Fish oil is one of the few food sources of cholecalciferol, but supplements are usually fortified with extra vitamin D-3 to increase the amount per dose.
Fish oil is the only source of two essential fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA, and docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA. EPA and DHA help regulate the function of every cell in the body. They also fight the type of chronic inflammation that contributes to heart disease and diabetes.
Prevent Nutrient Deficiencies
Preventing deficiencies may be more imperative than you realize. The typical American diet doesn’t provide the recommended intake for omega-3 fatty acids, reported the Nutrition Journal in April 2014. Most people also don’t consume a sufficient amount of vitamin D.
If your diet falls short, taking vitamin D-3 plus fish oil can fill in the difference. Adults need 15 micrograms, or 600 international units, of vitamin D each day. Women should consume 1.1 grams of total omega-3s daily, while men need 1.6 grams.
Maintain Strong Bones
You already know that calcium is vital for strong bones, but vitamin D is also essential because your body needs it to absorb and use calcium. If ongoing research verifies existing studies, fish oil may also keep bones healthy.
Fish oil helps maintain bone density by stopping minerals from leaving bones and going into the bloodstream. In laboratory rats, fish oil prevented age-related bone loss by inhibiting cells that break down bone, reported Molecular Medicine Reports in June 2013.
Support Immune System
Lack of vitamin D is associated with a weakened immune system, which makes you more susceptible to chronic infections. On the flip side, it strengthens the immune system by boosting the ability of while blood cells to fight invading bacteria.
Emerging research shows that DHA from fish oil may support the immune system by enhancing the function of B cells, according to a study in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology in April 2013. B cells prevent infections by producing antibodies that neutralize bacteria and viruses.
Lower Blood Pressure
Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil relax muscles in blood vessel walls, which lowers blood pressure. Studies published so far suggest that fish oil is beneficial for people diagnosed with high blood pressure and may help as part of lifestyle changes to lower blood pressure in people with mild hypertension, reported the British Journal of Nutrition in June 2012.
Vitamin D-3 controls genes that regulate blood pressure. Low levels of vitamin D are associated with a higher risk of high blood pressure. Supplements may prevent hypertension, but more research is needed to verify their effectiveness, according to Current Opinion in Nephrology and Hypertension in April 2014.
- Linus Pauling Institute: Vitamin D
- Linus Pauling Institute: Essential Fatty Acids
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion: Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee
- Molecular Medicine Reports: Fish Oil Suppresses Bone Resorption by Inhibiting Osteoclastogenesis Through Decreased Expression of M-CSF, PU.1, MITF and RANK in Ovariectomized Rats
- Nutrition Journal: U.S. Adults Are not Meeting Recommended Levels for Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake: Results of an Analysis Using Observational Data From NHANES 2003-2008
- British Journal of Nutrition: Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Blood Pressure
- Current Opinion in Nephrology and Hypertension: Does Vitamin D Modulate Blood Pressure?
- Nutrients: Vitamin D and Immune Function
- Journal of Leukocyte Biology: DHA-Enriched Fish Oil Targets B Cell Lipid Microdomains and Enhances Ex Vivo and In Vivo B Cell Function