Vitamin D and omega-3 supplements do not inhibit cancer or heart disease, the latest study reveals that there has been debate over their benefits over recent years.
More than 25,000 Americans of different ages over the age of 50 who did not have cancer, heart attack, stroke or other forms of heart disease participated in the investigation.
The participants were randomly assigned to vitamin D, omega-3, or placebo per day. After more than five years, no significant heart disease or cancer differences were found between those who took the add-ons and those who took placebo.
Leading Researcher Dr. Joan E. Mensons, head of the Brigham and Women's Hospital Preventive Medicine Division and Harvard Medical School Professor, said the study was different as the world's largest study of this kind.
She added that previous studies looked at bone health or that a high-risk population was used, but in her study "the main goals are to investigate whether vitamin D and D can reduce the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease" for typical people without a history of these conditions.
The results of VITAMIN D and OmegA-3 TriaL, known as VITAL, were presented in 2018 at the American Heart Association's scientific sessions in Chicago and published on Saturday in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The original trial of VITAL took place last year and involved more than 8,000 participants.
Studies have shown that fatty acid omega-3 can prevent cancer and cardiovascular disease, the study says, and vitamin D is suggested to reduce the risk of cancer, since In countries with high sun exposure there are fewer cancer cases. Such observations are susceptible to confusion factors associated with lower levels of cancer in areas where there is more exposure to the sun, because people who spend more time outside are more likely to engage in other healthy behaviors, such as physical practice.
"If you already use one or both of these supplements, there is no clear reason to stop. If you want to consider starting to use, it's our recommendation to talk to your healthcare provider, but this does not have to be urgent," Manson said.
Low protection against vitamin D
The study was a large, clinically-randomized study, noted Brian Power, the honorary senior nutrition doctor at the University Hospital of London University College and a nutritionist lecturer who was not involved in the study. He described it in e-mail as "a gold standard to measure the effectiveness of this type of intervention, reducing prejudice and confusion."
Looking at moderate to high doses – 2,000 IU of vitamin D, 1617 people developed cancer; Of these, 793 were regular Vitamin D, but 824 – in the placebo group.
Also, 905 participants developed significant cardiovascular disorders such as stroke, heart attack, or death from cardiovascular disease. Of these, 396 used vitamin D supplements daily; In the placebo group, there were 409 major cardiovascular events.
The researchers concluded that the difference was too small and claimed that there was no link between vitamin D and a reduction in the risk of a major cardiovascular disease or invasive cancer.
Anastasia Z. Kalea, a senior lecturer in cardiac and cardiovascular genetics at the University of London College, who was not a member of the study, said the results were "very important, but not surprising." Both conclusions were suspected and the study supports them, she added.
The study shows that vitamin D supplementation is not possible to prevent cancer, and differences in placebo and vitamin D groups are minimal, says Kalea.
However, the study significantly reduced the incidence of cancer deaths, and by 25% – those who took vitamin D. This finding requires further research, but Manson believes that it can be explained by vitamin D, which affects tumor biology, thus reducing the possibility of a tumor growing and spreading.
Recent studies have also rejected the theory that vitamin D improves bone health and eliminates fractures, but some experts disagree with small time periods and sample sizes as well as inadequate doses.
Some benefits of omega-3
In the Omega-3 analysis, invasive cancers were detected in 820 participants receiving 1 g of omega-3 daily doses and 797 patients receiving placebo.
Also, 386 people taking 1 gram of omega-3 experienced cardiovascular disorders during the study and 419 people using placebo.
In the event of a specific heart attack, the findings generally reduced the use of omega-3 doses by 28%. For African Americans, the study revealed 77% reduction in heart attacks associated with daily omega-3 supplements.
For people who do not eat one or two fish a week, these supplements were associated with a 40% reduction in heart attack. However, there were no such associations for people who followed the recommendation.
Manson suggests trying to get omega-3 from a healthy diet that contains fish. But for people who do not eat or like fish, you should talk to a healthcare professional about the choice of omega-3 supplements.
"It might be possible to find one," Manson said, and so it should be repeated. But if confirmed it could point to a "promising approach to reduce health disparities. "
Nathan Davies, head of clinical nutrition at the University of London College of Clinical Nutrition and Public Health Program, said these findings were "no radical discoveries." These might be benefits, but they are less pronounced. "
According to Davies, who was not involved in the study, the findings suggest that omega-3 oils are not harmful.
However, he noted that the study might have benefited from a longer period of time. "You always want more time, especially if you are cancerous."
It also does not analyze whether there is a dose-dependent effect, and higher doses may produce better results, Davies said.
"Diet is more important than supplementing. If you have a good diet, you will not need to eat food," he said, adding that this is not always practical, as factors such as income and availability can affect nutrition.
Victoria Taylor, a senior nutritionist at the British Heart Foundation, wrote in an e-mail: "We do not recommend the use of vitamins and minerals to prevent cardiovascular disease, and the results of this study support our advice.
"If you are eating a healthy and balanced Mediterranean diet, you should be able to get all the nutrients you need to protect yourself from the heart and circulatory diseases," she added.
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