Both strategies on their own can help reduce levels of chronic inflammation, but combining the two is even more effective.
Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre tested the two approaches, and the two combined, on a group of 218 overweight women who had low levels of vitamin D. All of them exercised five days a week for 12 months, and some also took 2000 IUs of vitamin D every day, while the rest were given a placebo, or sugar pill.
At the end of the year, all the participants had reduced their levels of inflammation, but those who also took the vitamin had a 37 per cent reduction in their biological markers for inflammation, known as interleukin-6 (IL-6). Those who had only exercised and taken a placebo saw a 17 per cent reduction in their inflammatory markers.
High levels of IL-6 have been linked to cancers, diabetes, heart disease and even depression.
(Source: Cancer Prevention Research, 2015; doi: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-14-0449