Vitamin D and Omega 3s Help Prevent Cancer Deaths and Heart Attacks

Fish oil, Vitamin D, and every other mineral, vitamin, and herb has been touted to have a slew of health benefits. Unfortunately, most of the time the research is lacking or inconsistent.Researchers have had to rely on observing trends in certain cultures over long periods of time or on anecdotes. Recent studies, though, have helped shed light on the health benefits of supplementing with Omega 3 and Vitamin D.

One of the new studies doesn’t prove the primary endpoints that the researchers were aiming for, which were the reduction of cardiovascular disease and the prevention of cancer. Instead, secondary endpoints were achieved:

  1. Vitamin D decreases mortality from cancer.
  2. Omega 3 fatty acids reduced the incidence of myocardial infarction and death from heart attacks.

The second study shows promising effects on the reduction of risk for heart attacks and strokes.

Vitamin D and Cancer

Vitamin D has consistently been regarded as a powerful supplement forcancer prevention. In vitro studies have shown that Vitamin D suppresses cell proliferation, which is the driving factor in the spread and severity of cancer. On top of that, tons of observational data points to individuals who have lower levels of Vitamin D having a higher chance of getting cancer. Despite these exciting findings and observations, Vitamin D has consistently failed to hold true to the claim that it prevents cancer.

What the latest research shows instead is that vitamin D lowers the mortality rates from cancer. Participants saw a 25 percent reduction in their risk of dying from cancer when they supplemented with vitamin D.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids, Heart Attacks, and Stroke Risk

The VITAL study did not prove that omega 3sare effective at decreasing general cardiovascular disease. Instead, it showed that omega 3s specifically help reduce the incidence of myocardial infarctions (heart attacks).

Participants had a 28 percent lowered risk of heart attacks compared to those who took the placebo or vitamin D. They were also less likely to die from a heart attack. In this same study, African Americans saw the greatest benefit, at a 77 percent reduction in the risk for heart attack.

In another study, individualswho took a purified form of omega 3s, called icosapent ethyl, had a significantly lower risk of having a heart attack or a stroke. The study included over 8,000 individuals with a history of heart attack or stroke as well as severe atherosclerosis, or hardening of the blood vessels.

The breakdown is:

  • 20 percent reduction to risk of death caused by heart problems
  • 31 percent reduction to risk of heart attack
  • 28 percent reduction to risk of stroke compared with taking a placebo.

Final Thoughts

While these findings are exciting, researchers warn readers to interpret these findings with caution. Eventually the secondary endpoints will need to be the primary endpoints of a new study. Also, it’s always a good idea to discuss supplementation with your physician first.

Image via Getty Images


Lorrie O
Lorrie O2 days ago

Omega-3 fish oil supplements increase fish mortality rates.

Linda Wallace
Linda Wallace6 days ago

Thank you for the explanation. It has been confusing.

Kerri D
Kerri D6 days ago

Vitamin D and Omega 3s are very important! Sunshine and a diet rich in omega 3s can go a long way!

Debbi W
Debbi W6 days ago

I've been taking small does of these for several years.

Janis K
Janis K6 days ago

Thanks for sharing.

Paulo R
Paulo R6 days ago


David C
David C7 days ago

Just to be clear, the end summary of the original New England Journal article is:

In conclusion, among patients with elevated triglyceride levels who were receiving statin therapy, the risk of major ischemic events, including cardiovascular death, was significantly lower with 2 g of icosapent ethyl twice daily (total daily dose, 4 g) than with placebo.

So while beneficial it is not clear everyone needs them....speak with someone with more knowledge than me about this

Mely L
Mely Lu7 days ago

Thank you for sharing

Leo C
Leo C7 days ago

Thank you for sharing!

Martin H
Martin H7 days ago