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New study gives mixed results on effectiveness of fish oil and vitamin D, we discuss the supplements’ ability to lower heart or cancer risks




Taking fish oil supplements to prevent cardiovascular disease and cancer may not be effective.
Taking fish oil supplements to prevent cardiovascular disease and cancer may not be effective.
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A large study on fish oil and vitamin D, published Saturday by the New England Journal of Medicine, gave long-awaited answers on who benefits from these nutrients.

Fish oils, also called omega-3 fatty acids, taken by healthy people, at a dose found in many supplements, showed no clear ability to lower heart or cancer risks. Vitamin D pills also failed to show any significant effect in lowering those health risks. But higher amounts of a purified, prescription fish oil slashed heart problems and heart-related deaths among people with high triglycerides, a type of fat in the blood, and other risks for heart disease.

The results were presented over the weekend at the American Heart Association conference in Chicago. Doctors cheered the findings and said they could suggest a new treatment option for hundreds of thousands of patients. We discuss who gets to benefit from those supplements, concerns over side effects, which minority groups appear to benefit the most from these nutrients and why.

With files from the Associated Press

Guest:

JoAnn Manson, M.D., lead author of the “VITAL Study” published Saturday in the New England Journal of Medicine; she is a physician researcher and chief of the Division of Preventive Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School