New data suggests that vitamin D may be processed differently in persons with a high body mass index, according to researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital. This new analysis of data from the landmark national clinical trial VITAL, headed by doctors at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, examines whether or not taking vitamin D or marine omega-3 supplements may lower the chance of acquiring cancer, heart disease, or stroke.
Vitamin D is a vital component for a wide variety of bodily functions, including mineral absorption (particularly of calcium and magnesium). Vitamin D deficits are often addressed with supplements, even though the body can produce part of the vitamin D it needs via exposure to sunshine. The initial VITAL experiment was sparked by data from laboratory studies, epidemiological research, and clinical research suggesting that vitamin D may have a role in the onset and development of cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Men and women over the age of 50 and 55 from the United States made up the 25,871 participants in the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled VITAL study. At the time of recruitment, nobody in the study had ever been diagnosed with cancer or cardiovascular illness. A significant link was identified between body mass index and the occurrence of cancer, cancer mortality, and the occurrence of autoimmune diseases, however the study demonstrated minimal effect of vitamin D supplementation in preventing cancer, heart attack, or stroke in the entire population. The findings for type 2 diabetes have been shown to be consistent with these hypotheses in other research.
The purpose of the recent research was to look at this connection. The study included 16,515 people who gave blood samples at the beginning of the experiment (before they were assigned to receive vitamin D) and 2,742 people who gave blood again two years later for a follow-up. The vitamin D metabolites, calcium, and parathyroid hormone, which aids in the vitamin D’s use, were all measured by the researchers.
Most biomarkers related to vitamin D metabolism were elevated in all study participants after vitamin D supplementation independent of body mass index, according to the researchers. But these gains were far more modest in those with higher BMIs.
The study concludes that the VITAL results should serve as a wake-up call to the scientific community, encouraging them to further investigate the possible advantages of vitamin D supplementation in the prevention of cancer and other illnesses, and to take body mass index into consideration when assessing the supplement’s health implications.