If you’re not taking vitamin D and fish oil, you’re missing out on some serious health benefits that could prologue your life and fight off a number of grave illnesses. However, the doses at which these health-promoting products are recommended have been shown to have no measurable health benefits.
What that means is that as important as these vital nutrients are for our health and well being, many people who use them will become disenchanted with them- thinking that all the fanfare is nothing but hype. The truth is that the doses at which these nutrients are found in most over the counter vitamins and multivitamins are not sufficient to produce the health promoting and disease deterring benefits that we are all looking for.
The old adage, ‘you get what you pay for,’ is proving to be true once again. In order to get the health benefits of vitamin D and fish oil, you need high doses that are purified and properly refined.
Like many other types of vitamins, vitamin D often comes in a synthetic or ruined form that is not only unusable by the body, but it can also cause harm over time. Likewise, fish oil often comes in a highly impure form that is bereft of the true micronutrients that make fish oil what it is. Low-quality fish oil lacks many of the compounds that give it its health promoting properties and often contain high concentrations of mercury. In order to get the full benefits of these nutrients, you need high-quality versions of them, and you need them in high doses.
Two separate studies have shown that fish oil in low doses (4 grams a day) and vitamin D have no effect. It studied 8,000 individuals who were considered to be at risk for heart disease and cardiopulmonary disease. All of the subjects had been diagnosed with a heart condition and were taking a statin drug for cholesterol.
Of the test group who took high doses of high-quality vitamin D and fish oil, subjects showed a 17% chance of suffering a stroke, heart attack, or other critical arterial clogging events. Those who did not take the high-quality nutrients had a 22% risk. According to the researchers, that adds up to a 25% overall improvement in the chances these patients had in avoiding a serious health event.
They also found that the study group also had strange heart rhythm anomalies as a side effect. The researchers were puzzled by this since fish oil use is generally associated with improved heart rhythms.
Another study by the EPA and the DHA looked at groups with no heart problems and used lower doses of fish oil. Their study followed 26,000 subjects over a five year period and found that in that time the incidence of death by heart attack and cancer were decreased by about 25%, a similar result to the other study.
The fact that the two studies are significantly different in test population size, and in their underlying health conditions, suggests that the consistent 25% reduction in deadly health incidences is reliable. Still, Dr. Steve Nissen of the Cleveland Clinic says, “These findings are speculative and would need to be confirmed in a separate trial.”
These studies are not without their faults. The compounds used on the control groups may not qualify as true placebos. The first study used a mineral oil and the second used olive oil. While these should not have an effect on the results of the test groups, it still violates an accepted norm in scientific research since these are not proper placebos.
When studies like this are done in an unorthodox fashion it hinders the transmission of vital information to people who need it. We would hazard a guess that the findings of these studies and the presumptions they are built on are correct; that higher doses of vitamin D and fish oil- and high-quality versions of these substances will have a much higher beneficial effect on health.
But because the studies were flawed, their results will likely not be accepted in any meaningful way by the mainstream nutritional health community. That means people who choose to act on this information will be considered to be anti-science crackpots.
Nevertheless, the state of the supplement industry alone is sufficient to show that vitamins sold to mainstream consumers are of a low quality and are likely to not offer all of the benefits they promise.