Vitamin D and Fish Oils Are Ineffective for Preventing Cancer and Heart Disease


“In recent years, many Americans have embraced vitamin D and fish oil pills, their enthusiasm fueled by a steady trickle of suggestive research studies linking higher levels of vitamin D with lower rates of cancer and other ills, and fish consumption with reduced heart disease.

“Now a large and rigorous government-funded randomized trial — the only such study of omega-3 fish oils ever carried out in healthy adults, and the largest trial ever done of high-dose vitamin D — has found the supplements do not lower cancer rates in healthy adults. Nor do they reduce the rate of major cardiovascular events, a composite of heart attacks, strokes and deaths from cardiovascular disease. The trial is of the kind considered the gold standard in medicine.”

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New Data Shows Popular Alternative Medicines Can Pose a Risk to Cancer Patients

“The ten most commonly asked about complementary medicines all interact with conventional treatments, potentially posing a threat to patient health and reaffirming the need for complementary or alternative therapies to be discussed between patients and their healthcare provider.

“The new research, being presented on December 3rd at the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia’s (COSA’s) Annual Scientific Meeting, reveals the 10 most commonly inquired about complementary medicines at Melbourne’s Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre all have predicted or actual drug interactions when taken with chemotherapy, radiation therapy or before surgery.

“The research involved an audit of inquiries to the hospital’s Medicines Information Centre from health providers and patients, over two years.

“The 10 most commonly inquired about products or supplements (excluding vitamins and minerals) were: fish oil, turmeric, coenzyme Q10, milk thistle, green tea, ginger, lactobacillus, licorice, astragalus and reishi mushroom.

“Lead researcher and Senior Pharmacist at Peter MacCallum’s Medicines Information Centre, Sally Brooks, said while levels of these substances found in a healthy diet were unlikely to cause contraindications, larger amounts in complementary medicines could.”

Over-the-Counter Pain Reliever May Slow Recurrence in Breast Cancer Patients

With promising new information on the risks of obesity and the benefits of anti-inflammatories, researchers at the Cancer Therapy & Research Center have launched a new study on aspirin and fish oil open to postmenopausal women who are cancer-free.

“It’s based on their own findings published today in the journal Cancer Research, which reveal that some postmenopausal overweight breast cancer patients who use common anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin or ibuprofen have significantly lower breast cancer recurrence rates.

“Researchers from the CTRC at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and The University of Texas at Austin began that study by examining blood serum from CTRC breast cancer patients, said CTRC oncologist Andrew Brenner, M.D., Ph.D.”

Low-Fat Fish Oil Diet May Alter Prostate Tumor Biology

“Men with early stage prostate cancer who ate a low-fat diet supplemented with fish oil had lower amounts of proinflammation molecules in their blood and lower prostate tumor cell proliferation compared with men who ate a high-fat Western diet. Men on the low-fat fish oil diet had lower serum levels of omega-6 fatty acids and high levels of serum omega-3 fatty acids compared with the prostate cancer patients who consumed a Western diet. The experimental group also had lower levels of the proinflammatory eicosanoid 15(S)-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid, or 15(S)-HETE, which has been previously shown to be associated with cancer. The decline in mean 15(S)-HETE was 7.2% in the low-fat diet group compared with 24.7% in the high-fat diet group (P = .02). The men in the low-fat diet group also had a lower cell cycle progression score, a marker for the aggressiveness of a cancer.”

Men with Prostate Cancer who Ate a Low-Fat Fish Oil Diet Showed Changes in their Cancer Tissue

“Men with prostate cancer who ate a low-fat diet and took fish oil supplements had lower levels of pro-inflammatory substances in their blood and a lower cell cycle progression score, a measure used to predict cancer recurrence, than men who ate a typical Western diet, UCLA researchers found. The findings are important because lowering the cell cycle progression (CCP) score may help prevent prostate cancers from becoming more aggressive, said study lead author William Aronson, a clinical professor of urology at UCLA and chief of urologic oncology at the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Medical Center.”

Men Who Take Fish Oil Supplements Have Higher Risk of Prostate Cancer

Research from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center has confirmed that high blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish oil, increase the risk of aggressive prostate cancer by 71 percent, and increase the overall risk of prostate cancer by 43 percent. The results of the new study involving 2227 men confirm similar findings from a clinical study conducted in 2011, as well as another large European study. Scientists are uncertain why fish oil increases the risk of prostate cancer, but a potential cause is that the omega-3 fatty acids break down into compounds that may damage DNA and lead to cancer development.