A new research shows that those people that consume supplements such as Vitamin D and fish oil on a daily basis to stave off major heart diseases and Cancer might not experience its benefits and evidence about the possible benefits of the supplements has been mixed.
Two research projects that were gathering information about the usefulness of taking supplements reveal disappointing results. The trials involved nearly 26,000 healthy adults age 50 and older with no history of cancer or heart disease who took part in the VITAL research project. And in “both trials results were negative,” says Dr. Lawrence Fine, chief of the clinical application and prevention branch of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, a part of the National Institutes of Health, which funded the studies.
“Overall, they showed that neither fish oil nor vitamin D actually lowered the incidence of heart disease or cancer,” Fine says.
The results were presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions in Chicago and released online Saturday by the New England Journal of Medicine. One paper focused on vitamin D supplementation and the other focused on fish oil.
Acoording to the study some of the participants took either 1 gram of fish oil — which contains omega-3 fatty acids — plus 2,000 international units of vitamin D daily. Others consumed the same dose of vitamin D plus a placebo, while others ingested the same dose of fish oil plus a placebo. The last group took two placebos. After more than five years, researchers were unable to find any overall benefit.
Though the results of the research were disappointing, the study did reveal that fish oil had reduced the risk of heart attacks significantly by 28 percent, which is a “statistically significant” finding, says Dr. JoAnn Manson , Head of this research and chief of the division of preventive medicine at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
There were no serious side effects, such as bleeding, high blood calcium levels or gastrointestinal symptoms found with either supplement.
This research was useful and will be expanded by Dr. Manson and her colleagues plan to further analyze their data and look for possible links between vitamin D, fish oil and cognitive function, autoimmune disease, respiratory infections and depression as earlier research had suggested that these supplements may have some benefit for these conditions.
“At this point, if one is thinking about supplementation, either omega-3s or vitamin D, talking to your physician or healthcare provider is the next step,” Fine says.
Fine and Manson stressed that vitamin D and the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil are important nutrients, but the best way to get them is as part of a well-balanced diet. That includes eating fatty fish like sardines, tuna and salmon, and vitamin-D fortified cereals, milk, and orange juice.