Vitamin D and Fish Oil: More Good Reasons To Supplement

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fish oil omega 3 health

I’ve simplified my supplements this year and now only take vitamin D and fish oil. Both of these made the news again last week, and both stories reinforced my belief that they both are uniquely powerful supplements for almost anyone, at any age.

In last week’s weekly radio interview with Paul James, we first discuss a Xinhuanet article about vitamin D and diabetes. They discuss a new study in obese children which showed that obese children with lower vitamin D levels had higher degrees of insulin resistance:

…”Although our study cannot prove causation, it does suggest that low vitamin D levels may play a role in the development of type 2 diabetes.”…”Poor dietary habits such as skipping breakfast and increased soda and juice intake were associated with the lower vitamin D levels seen in obese children,”…

It’s not a terrific study as the connection may be chicken-and-egg; in other words, is low vitamin D leading to diabetes, or is it just a marker of people that have diabetes? Stay tuned for more research, but in the meantime, I’ve always been a big fan of vitamin D, and kids are supposed to be taking supplements anyway (it’s the official position of the AAP). I and other docs at BJU have also found quite a few Beijingers with low blood levels of vitamin D, at all times of the year.

We also discuss yet another Xinhuanet story discussing a powerful research study of one of fatty fish’s major ingredients, omega-3 fatty acids. This study specifically looked at healthy younger women (50,000 Danish women), and found an astonishing 50% increase in heart disease in the women who ate zero fish when compared to those who ate the most fish. In other words, even for healthy young people at any age with no previous heart troubles, eating fatty fish can still lower your risk of heart attacks and strokes by a major amount. Powerful stuff, and certainly not the first study to show this dose-dependent cardioprotective effect:

“To our knowledge this is the first study of this size to focus exclusively on women of childbearing age,” said Marin Strom, lead researcher and post doctoral fellow at the Center for Fetal Programming, at Statens Serum Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark. ” We saw a strong association with cardiovascular disease in the women who were still in their late 30’s.”

The most common fish consumed by women in the study were cod, salmon, herring, and mackerel.

“Our study shows that for younger women, eating fish is very important for overall health, and even though we found cardio- protective effects at relatively modest dietary levels, higher levels may yield additional benefits,” Strom said.

More Podcast Information

You can always listen live to my radio interview each Wednesday around 7:35am Beijing time, on the Beijing Hour program on EZFM 91.5, which is broadcast from 7-8am every weekday by host Paul James. EZFM is the popular bilingual radio station on the China Radio International network, broadcasting here in Beijing and on multiple stations all over the world, as well as live online here.

You can listen to all my previous podcasts at the podcast archive.

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4 thoughts on “Vitamin D and Fish Oil: More Good Reasons To Supplement”

  1. I’ve seen studies showing that most adults in western countries are vitamin D deficient, and some doctors are recommending that the daily allowance for vitamin D be raised.

    Regarding fish oil, the main Omega-3 fats in fish oil are EPA and DHA. When buying fish oil, make sure what you’re getting has been purified to not contain any heavy metals and other toxins. You can also get DHA supplements that have been obtained from plant sources only (algae), but these will not contain any EPA. If you’re only concerned about the heart benefits, taking DHA alone may be enough.

    1. I think many people are under the vitamin D threshold, and I don’t see much of a problem with supplementing 400-1,000 IU a day as is recommended. Many people take 5,000 which is probably way too much and only causing extra problems like kidney stones…and it’s true, you really need a good reliable source of fish as well as the supplements…

  2. But where to buy just vitamin D? I’ve only seen it in multivits and mixed with calcium. Simlarly, any suggestions on best brand of fish oil capsules to buy in China? There are lots of them and how many are real/good?

    1. I have 2 favorite places in Beijing to get vitamins and supplements: #1 is the Nature’s Bounty chain, it’s imported from the US and is in most major malls and stores in Beijing. You probably have it in your city as well. You can first check out their website:

      I also use the store World Health, they have stores in Beijing and Shanghai and have vitamins online I believe can get shipped to you: (Full disclosure: they are a sponsor for my website. But they are also a really cool company with good products)

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