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U.S. Study Will Target Vitamin D, Fish Oil

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The effectiveness of two popular dietary supplements, vitamin D and fish oil, will be put to the test in a large, five-year U.S. government-sponsored study, the Associated Press reported.

The study is designed to determine whether either supplement reduces the risk of developing heart disease, cancer or stroke, as proponents claim.

One quarter of the participants will be black, the AP said, noting that dark-skinned people can't produce much vitamin D from sunlight. Some experts believe this is why blacks suffer higher rates of stroke, heart disease and cancer than whites.

Fish oil, or omega-3 fatty acid, is widely touted for improving heart health, but previous studies haven't established its safety or benefits.

Noting that other supplements, such as vitamins E and C, have fared poorly in recent tests, a study leader advised restraint. "We should be cautious before jumping on the bandwagon to take mega-doses of these supplements," said Dr. JoAnn Manson, who will co-lead the study with Dr. Julie Buring of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, according to the AP.

Set to start later this year, the new study will include 20,000 older adults who will be assigned to take vitamin D, fish oil, both supplements or placebo pills, the AP said.

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EmpowHER Guest

I am very interested in the results of this test. I started taking vitamin D after my last heart surgery and hope there are many benefits.

June 27, 2009 - 6:57pm
EmpowHER Guest

The link between cancer rates and vitamin D deficiency was first proposed in 1980 by Garland. Since that time, 60 epidemiology studies have supported the hypothesis, a double blind placebo study confirmed up to a 77% reduction in cancer incidence for those on vitamin D supplements and two years ago the Canadian Cancer Society started recommending that everyone take vitamin D to prevent cancer. Experts on vitamin D will tell you the extent of the data on vitamin D preventing cancer is now as extensive as the data on smoking causing cancer. Correcting vitamin D deficiency is now so well accepted it is almost part of standard medical care. If your primary care physician does not check your levels it’s time to get a new doctor! At this late stage, NIH wants to start a placebo controlled study to prove that correcting a deficiency is good for you. (We are all deficient thanks to that other great piece of advice to stay out of the sun at all costs) Even worse, the study will probably come out negative because who in their right mind would stay on placebo for years and deliberately remain deficient. Once the participants in the study learn about vitamin D they will either drop out of the study or start taking extra vitamin D in case they are on placebo and the effect will be lost. In addition, fish oil contains significant amounts of vitamin A so unfortunately, apart from being 20 years too late with this study NIH has chosen to combine vitamin D with the one molecule on the planet that is known to antagonize the effects of vitamin D. Truly stunning!!!

June 23, 2009 - 11:26am
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