Vitamin D, Omega-3 Study

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A large, government-sponsored study has been designed to test the effects of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acid supplements on a patient s risk for heart disease, cancer, or stroke.

The study s co-leader, Dr. JoAnn Manson of Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women s Hospital in Boston, is excited about the potential benefits that might be discovered, but she seems to share ACSH staffers concern for scientific integrity: We should be cautious before jumping on the bandwagon to take mega-doses of these supplements. We know from history that many of these nutrients that looked promising in observational studies didn t pan out.

We re glad they re looking into it. These are becoming popular supplements, but we still need more data before we re sure that they re actually beneficial, says ACSH's Dr. Elizabeth Whelan.

Also, adds ACSH's Dr. Ruth Kava, vitamin D in high doses over long periods of time can definitely have harmful effects. It s important not to fall for the if a little is good, a lot is better myth.