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Fish oil cuts heart attack risk, vitamin D lowers odds of cancer death

By Gene Emery (Reuters Health) – A large U.S. studie designet om de gezondheidsgevin gen van vitamin D en visolie…

By Gene Emery

(Reuters Health) – A large U.S. studie designet om de gezondheidsgevin gen van vitamin D en visolie supplementen concludeert dat de omega-3 olie dramatisch kan verminderen de kansen van een hartaanval, terwijl vitamine D’s voordelen lijken te komen uit het verminderen van de risico van dood van kanker.

Neither Vitamin D nor fish oil lowered the odds of stroke or getting cancer in the first place in the trial, whose participants did not know whether they were taking the real supplements or a dummy pill.

The heart attack rate in fish oil recipients was 28 percent lower than among those who got the dummy pill, or placebo, and it was 77 percent lower among African American participants – although the lead author of the study told Reuters Health that this dramatic drop in risk among black participants needs to be confirmed .

For people taking vitamin D who developed cancer, the death rate from cancer was 25 percent lower, possibly because the vitamin “may affect the biology of the tumor so it’s less likely to spread and become metastatic, “said lead author Dr. JoAnn Manson, chief of the division of preventive medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

“Therefore, you may see a reduction in cancer death but not see a reduction in the first diagnosis, which could take a much longer trial, “she said in a telephone interview. “If you’re talking about prevention of cancer, that may take treatment for well over a decade.”

It took a few years of vitamin D for the reduction in cancer deaths to become clear.

The results were Reported Saturday at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions meeting in Chicago and online in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Both supplements have a reputation for being beneficial based on animal tests and observation studies involving large diverse populations or ethnic groups. Men store studier som direkte testet fordelene med vitamin D og fiskeolie i supplementsform har givet inkonsistente resultater.

The new study, known as VITAL, is the first major test of both in the general population.

The researchers gave 2,000 international units of vitamin D per day, 1 gram of marine omega-3 fatty acids, or placebo supplements to 25,871 volunteers aged 50 or older. Geen had een geschiedenis van kanker, hartaanval of stroke. At least half stayed in the study for more than five years.

Based on the new findings, “people already taking vitamin D or fish oil will feel there’s no reason to stop,” Manson said.

Others may want to wait “because we are going to be publishing findings for other endpoints – diabetes, cognitive function, depression, autoimmune diseases – over the next six months,” she said. “These findings may help people decide if the benefits are likely to outweigh the risks for them. “

And people should not take higher doses than was used in the study, Manson noted. With megadoses, “the risk may outweigh the benefit.” With high doses of vitamin D there may be a risk of high blood calcium levels developing. Some have suggested a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, falls and even fractures. “

By other measures, neither supplement seemed useful.

Among fish oil recipients, the rates of death from any cause, death from cancer and death from heart disease in general were not significantly different than for people not taking fish oil supplements.

In Additionally, the collective odds of having a heart attack, stroke or death from any cardiovascular cause were essentially the same whether people were taking fish oil or placebo.

It was only when researchers teased out individual elements of heart disease – such as the rate of heart attack, the rate of fatal heart attack and the need for angioplasty – that a benefit stood out.

Even a little fish oil seemed to help. Volunteers who consumed less fish than average – less than one and a half servings per week – and received the real omega-3 supplements, saw a 40 percent reduction in the risk of a heart attack.

In the vitamin D study , which was “the largest high-dose randomized trial of vitamin D in the world,” according to Manson, supplement and non-supplement recipients had similar rates of heart attack, stroke, death from heart attack and cancer of the breast, prostate, or the colon and rectum.

It was only the odds of dying from cancer that were reduced.

SOURCES:, and https: / / The New England Journal of Medicine, online November 10, 2018.

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