Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A "VITAL" Study on Vitamin D and Disease Prevention

In the news last month were details of a large Harvard-based randomized clinical trial that will be testing the potential of vitamin D and fish oil supplements to prevent cancer and heart disease (study site). Called the VITAL study -- from the somewhat forced “VITamin D and OmegA-3 TriaL” – the study plans to recruit 20,000 older men and women beginning January 2010 to be in one of four study groups. One group will take both a vitamin D supplement (2,000 IU) and an omega-3 supplement (1g) each day. One group will take placebos of both each day. And the other two groups will take a combination of supplements and placebos.

Vitamin D has certainly been in the news a great deal over the last couple of years for its possible disease prevention qualities. And while the evidence for benefit has been compelling, most of it has come from observational studies. The VITAL study, and other similar planned trials, should help offer some more definitive information about vitamin D’s benefits, and any risks.

Vitamin D article by the prevention team in Woman & Cancer Magazine: Shedding Light on Vitamin D and Cancer by Graham Colditz, MD, DrPH and Hank Dart, SM