Two popular supplements taken for their supposed effect on systemic inflammation may not be as effective as consumers had hoped. Neither omega-3 fatty acids — which are commonly sold in the form of fish oil — nor vitamin D was found to reduce inflammation in the body in most cases, according to a study out of Brigham and Women’s Hospital. In fact, there was some evidence that taking one of these supplements may increase systemic inflammation.
System inflammation paves the way for a huge number of diseases, including autoimmune conditions, cancer, and more. Reducing systemic inflammation is a popular effort among the modern health-conscious public; many diets and supplements are lauded as ways to cool down this body inflammation, promote health, and prevent chronic diseases.
Vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids are often touted as two supplements that can help reduce systemic inflammation, but a new double-blind and placebo-controlled randomized study didn’t find any evidence that either product reduces the biomarkers that indicate body inflammation. Levels were measured at the start of the trial and one year later.
Among the biomarkers measured was interleukin-6, a pro-inflammatory cytokine that hints at the presence of systemic inflammation. The researchers found that participants who were tasked with taking vitamin D experienced an 8.2-percent increase in this biomarker, hinting that it made inflammation worse.
However, one biomarker called hs-CRP was found to have decreased in participants who took omega-3 fatty acids…but only if their diets were low in fish before the start of the study. The findings indicate that taking fish oil supplements may have some degree of effectiveness in reducing systemic inflammation for people who don’t commonly eat fish.