The most recent trial confirms that two nutrients can reduce deaths from heart attacks and cancer.
Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil can significantly reduce heart attacks and vitamin D supplementation can significantly lower the number of deaths caused by different types of cancer.
Researchers studied 26,000 American adults in the VITAL clinical trial for five years to see if fish oil or vitamin D would definitely ward off cardiovascular disease or cancer.
The outcomes were reassuring: marine omega-3 fatty acid intake was linked to a significant drop in heart attacks.
One-and-half servings per week of dietary fish intake showed the maximum heart health benefits, but higher dietary fish intake didn’t help more.
The greatest decrease in heart attacks was seen in African-Americans.
The benefit of 1 gram of omega-3 fish oil supplementation showed a small decrease in major cardiovascular events like stroke and death from cardiovascular disease.
Vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol intake at a dose of 2000 IU per day showed a significant decrease of death from cancer for those who took it for at least two years.
However, supplementation with vitamin D3 capsules didn’t significantly lower incidence of any type of cancer or cardiovascular disease.
Dr. JoAnn Manson, the study’s first author, said:
“The pattern of findings suggests a complex balance of benefits and risks for each intervention and points to the need for additional research to determine which individuals may be most likely to derive a net benefit from these supplements.”
Dr. Stephanie Faubion, NAMS medical director, said:
“With heart disease and cancer representing the most significant health threats to women, it is imperative that we continue to study the viability of options that prevent these diseases and help women survive them.”
The 1 gram omega-3 fish oil supplementation used in the VITAL clinical trial was Omacor, a prescription medicine for adults.
The capsule contains 840 milligrams marine omega-3 fatty acids, of which 465 mg is eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 375 mg is docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
About the author
Mina Dean is a Nutritionist and Food Scientist. She holds a BSc in Human Nutrition and an MSc in Food Science.
The study was presented at the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) Annual Meeting in Chicago (Manson et al., 2019).
2 Supplements That Double Weight Loss
Many overweight people are deficient in this essential nutrients.
A vitamin D supplement combined with calcium supplementation can help weight loss, research suggests.
People in the study who took vitamin D and calcium supplements lost more belly fat and experienced greater loss of fat mass.
One study has shown that people drinking more milk, which contains vitamin D and calcium, can double weight loss.
Up to half the world’s population may be deficient in vitamin D.
A deficiency in vitamin D could help to increase people’s appetite, research suggests.
Foods that are rich in vitamin D include oily fish and eggs, but most people get their vitamin D from the action of sunlight on the skin.
Around half of people who are obese have a calcium deficiency.
The body cannot produce calcium, so relies on it from food intake.
Foods high in calcium include dairy products, seeds, nuts and dark, leafy greens like spinach and kale.
The study included 53 overweight or obese people.
They were split into two groups with one put on an energy-restricted diet, that included 500 calories per day less than required.
The rest were put on the same diet, but also given calcium and vitamin D supplements.
The calcium supplement was 600 mg, while the vitamin D3 supplement was 125 IU.
The results showed that people taking calcium and vitamin D together lost 6 pounds of fat, while those in the comparison group only lost 4 pounds of fat.
The study’s authors write:
“Calcium plus vitamin D3 supplementation for 12 weeks augmented body fat and visceral fat loss in very-low calcium consumers during energy restriction.”
Although the exact mechanism for how calcium and vitamin D aid weight loss is not known, the authors speculate:
“The greater decrease in fat mass observed in the calcium+D group of the current study could result from several factors attributing to calcium metabolism.
First, a calcium-rich diet is shown to increase fat oxidation, promote fat cell apoptosis, and reduce lipid absorption due to the formation of insoluble calcium-fatty acid soaps in the intestine, which are eventually excreted in the feces.
Second, high dietary calcium intake is associated with suppression of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (1,25-(OH)2D) levels which in turn act to decrease calcium influx into the cell.”
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003).
The study was published in the Nutrition Journal (Zhu et al., 2019).