A new, large-scale study has found more health benefits to both Vitamin D and fish oil. The study observed more than 25,000 American adults above age 50. For those that developed cancer, the death rate was 25% lower for those taking Vitamin D, and heart attack rate was 28% lower for those taking fish oil. Neither Vitamin D nor fish oil lowered the chance of stroke or of getting cancer in the first place during the trial.
Local dietitian, Tatiana Pyper, advises that the results aren’t as straightforward as they seem. She says it’s important for adults to aim for around 800 International Units of Vitamin D daily, and not necessarily from a supplement.
“It’s important specifically because we cannot produce it,” she says. “We can get it from food, but mainly fortified foods; so, milk with Vitamin D added, cereals with Vitamin D fortification, of course from fish, and fish oils.”
Fish oil is a prime example of a source of both Vitamin D and the omega-3 that Pyper says is so beneficial. “However, not every person will like to eat fish,” she says. “So, if you don’t like fish, and you don’t want to take a fish supplement, then you will most likely benefit from eating cereal and milk. If you have cereal and milk for breakfast, you get most of your Vitamin D requirement for the day.”
When it comes to fish oil as a source of omega-3, Pyper says there are also other choices that can produce similar benefits. “You can also get it from chia seeds, and you can get it from flax seeds. Actually, chia seeds have even more omega-3s than fish oil.”
While this study focuses primarily on the supplement form of these nutrients, Pyper recommends a thoughtful and balanced diet as a primary focus for an overall healthy lifestyle.