Daily High-Dose Vitamin D, Omega-3s, and Exercise May Reduce Cancer Risk by 61%

By Lou Portero - Last Updated: May 20, 2022

Aging, physical inactivity, and an unhealthy diet are associated risk factors for cancer. Researchers are currently focusing efforts on preventative measures to reduce cancer risk. 

A new randomized trial published in the journal Frontiers in Aging found that supplementation with high-dose vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, and a simple home strength exercise program (SHEP) reduced cancer risk by 61 percent in healthy and active adults 70 and older.  

Previous mechanistic studies have shown the effect of each of these treatments on cancer prevention. Vitamin D inhibits cancer cell growth. Omega-3 fatty acids may inhibit the transformation of normal cells, and exercise has also been shown to increase immune function and reduce inflammation, which may aid in cancer prevention. However, there is a lack of robust clinical studies proving the effectiveness of these three simple interventions, alone or combined.

The three-year trial by DO-HEALTH involved 2,157 participants from seven centers in five European countries, namely, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, France, and Portugal. Participants were assessed on the effect of both the individual and combined benefits of interventions. The researchers found that each of the individual treatments had small benefits, but combining all three treatments reduced cancer risk by 61%, which is statistically significant.  

According to Bischoff-Ferrari, DO-HEALTH Coordinator, Principal Investigator, and Zurich Site Investigator, “Novel cancer treatments aim to block multiple pathways for cancer development by combining several agents. We translated this concept into cancer prevention.”

Future studies are needed to verify the benefit of combined treatments in cancer prevention. In addition, studies may need to be extended to longer follow-ups beyond the three-year duration assessed in this trial.



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