People with lupus may fare better if they have enough vitamin D and omega-3 fats in their diet, preliminary research suggests. At least 1.5 million Americans have the disease, according to the Lupus Foundation of America. It mostly strikes women, usually starting in their 20s or 30s. In separate studies, researchers linked the two nutrients — or lack thereof — to higher risks of certain lupus symptoms and complications. In one, lupus patients with low blood levels of vitamin D faced a higher risk of kidney damage than those with sufficient levels. In the other, people who ate more omega-3 fats — mainly found in oily fish — tended to have less severe symptom flare-ups and better sleep quality.
On average, they found, patients with low vitamin D had a 66 percent higher risk of severe kidney damage, versus those with normal levels. The nutrient was not linked to damage in other specific organs. The omega-3 study involved 456 SLE patients who completed a detailed diet survey. In general, researchers found, the more omega-3 fats people consumed, the better their sleep quality.