Vitamin D, fish oils don’t lower cancer and heart disease risk for most people

Taking daily vitamin D and fish oil supplements does not lower cancer rates or reduce the rates of major cardiovascular events—including heart attacks, strokes, and deaths from cardiovascular disease—in healthy adults, according to new findings from a large and rigorous randomized trial.

However, the results hinted at some potential benefits from the supplements. For example, another analysis of the data showed that vitamin D may help reduce cancer deaths for people who have taken it for at least two years.

And results from an analysis looking only at the effects of fish oil on heart attacks were promising for certain populations, according to JoAnn Manson, professor in the Department of Epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and an investigator at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, who led the trial. Researchers found that among study participants taking fish oil, there was a 40% reduction in heart attacks among those who ate little fish and a 77% reduction in African Americans, compared to study participants who received a placebo.

The 28% reduction was “pretty amazing,” Manson told the New York Times in a November 10, 2018 article. “That’s what you see with statins.” She added that the data does not suggest that everyone should take fish oil supplements. “We’re saying, ‘Talk to your doctor, especially if you have low fish intake or are African-American.’ ”

Read the New York Times article: Vitamin D and Fish Oils Are Ineffective for Preventing Cancer and Heart Disease

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Certain vitamins and minerals may help boost longevity (Harvard Chan School news)