Vitamin D and fish oil show promise in cancer prevention

    25 September 2019

    Vitamin D and fish oil can help to prevent cancer and cardiovascular disease, according to the results of a new clinical trial Brigham and Women’s Hospital, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School in the US.

    Nearly 26,000 U.S. men and women participated in the nationwide VITAL clinical trial. After more than five years of study and treatment, the results show promising signals for certain outcomes. For example, while Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) showed only a small, but non-significant, reduction in the primary cardiovascular endpoint of major CVD events, they were associated with significant reductions in heart attacks.

    The greatest treatment benefit was seen in people with dietary fish intake below the average of 1.5 servings per week but not in those whose intake was above that level.

    Similarly, vitamin D supplementation did not reduce major CVD events or total cancer incidence but was associated with a statistically significant reduction in total cancer mortality among those in the trial at least two years.

    Dr. JoAnn Manson, the study’s lead author, said: “The pattern of findings suggests a complex balance of benefits and risks for each intervention and points to the need for additional research to determine which individuals may be most likely to derive a net benefit from these supplements.”

    “With heart disease and cancer representing the most significant health threats to women, it is imperative that we continue to study the viability of options that prevent these diseases and help women survive them.”