Massive Vitamin-D/Omega-3 Trial for CVD, Cancer Prevention

Shelley Wood

June 29, 2009

June 29, 2009 (Boston, Massachusetts) — A massive, National Institutes of Health–sponsored study looking at whether vitamin-D and/or omega-3 fatty-acid supplementation can reduce the risk of developing heart disease, stroke, or cancer will get under way in January 2010, according to a website for the study. Drs JoAnn Manson and Julie Buring (Harvard Medical School/ Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA) will head up the Vitamin D and Omega-3 Trial (VITAL).

The study is aiming to enroll 20 000 men and women, one-quarter of whom will be black. According to a Brigham and Women's Hospital press release, the study is intentionally aiming to illuminate a potential racial and ethnic disparity hypothesized to be linked to vitamin D [1]. "African Americans have a higher risk of vitamin-D deficiency as well as a greater frequency of diabetes, hypertension, and certain types of cancer," a press release notes. For VITAL, women need to be over age 65 to enter the study; men need to be over age 60.

Study participants will be randomized to one of four groups: daily vitamin D (2000 IU) and fish oil (1 g); daily vitamin D and fish-oil placebo; daily vitamin-D placebo and fish oil; or daily vitamin-D placebo and fish-oil placebo. The trial will run for five years and is expected to cost US $20 million.

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