A new study has found that Vitamin D and omega-3 supplements do not prevent cancer or heart disease.The study enrolled more than 25,000 people who were over the age of 50 and had no history of cancer, heart attack, stroke or other forms of heart disease.
In the trial participants were assigned a daily dose of vitamin D and omega-3. After more than five years, no significant heart disease or cancer difference was seen between those taking supplements and those taking a placebo.
The study had the the primary aims to look if vitamin D and omega-3 could reduce risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease in typical people with no history of such conditions.Past research suggested that the fatty acid omega-3 could prevent cancers and cardiovascular diseases and vitamin D has been suggested to reduce cancer risks because there are fewer cancer cases in countries with high sun exposure.
Such observational studies are susceptible to confounding factors for a lower cancer rate in places where there is greater sun exposure because people who spend more time outside are most likely also engaging in other healthy habits such as exercise.
Looking at moderate to high dosages vitamin D 1,617 people developed cancer of these 793 were regular vitamin D takers and 824 were took omega-3 .Also 905 participants developed major cardiovascular events such as stroke, heart attack or death from cardiovascular disease. Of them 396 were taking vitamin D supplements daily and the placebo group had 409 cases of a major cardiovascular event.
The researchers concluded that the difference is too small and says there is no link between vitamin D intake and a lowered risk of major cardiovascular events or invasive cancers.The study shows that it is not possible for vitamin D supplements to prevent cancer and the differences in omega-3 and vitamin D groups are minimal.
However over the course of the study deaths from cancer were significantly reduced by 25% for those who took vitamin D supplements. This finding needs further research this is because vitamin D affects tumor biology making it less likely that the tumor grows and spreads.
In the omega-3 analysis cancer was found in 820 participants taking daily supplements of 1 gram of omega-3 and in 797 who received a placebo.Also 386 people taking 1 gram of omega-3 experienced cardiovascular events during the study as did 419 people taking a placebo.
But for heart attacks specifically findings showed an overall 28% reduction in those taking omega-3 supplements. For African-Americans the study found a 77% reduction in heart attacks linked to daily of omega-3 supplements.
In people who don’t eat the recommended one or two servings of fish a week the supplements were linked to a 40% reduction in heart attacks.