A new study found that a combination of high-dose vitamin D, omega-3s, and a simple home strength exercise program drastically reduce cancer risk in healthy adults aged 70 or older.
Each of the treatments had a small individual benefit but when all three treatments were combined, the benefits became statistically significant, with researchers seeing an overall reduction in cancer risk by 61%.
Published in Frontiers in Aging, it is the first study to test the combined benefit of three affordable public health interventions for the prevention of invasive cancers.
Following future studies, the results may impact the future of cancer prevention in older adults.
In the meantime, consuming fatty fish, getting in the sun and doing strength training would be a wise move for anyone looking to improve their health and reduce their risk of disease.
Mechanistic studies have shown that vitamin D inhibits the growth of cancer cells. Similarly, omega-3 may inhibit the transformation of normal cells into cancer cells, and exercise has been shown to improve immune function and decrease inflammation, which may help in the prevention of cancer.
However, there was a lack of robust clinical studies proving the effectiveness of these three simple interventions, alone or combined.
So researchers conducted a three-year trial in five European countries (Switzerland, France, Germany, Austria, and Portugal) with 2,157 participants.
The participants were randomized into eight different groups, including a placebo group, to test the individual and combined benefit of the interventions.
Participants received check-up phone calls every three months and had standardised examinations of health and function in the trial centres at baseline each year.
The results show that all three treatments (vitamin D3, omega-3s, and strength training) had cumulative benefits on the risk of invasive cancers.
Each of the treatments had a small individual benefit but when all three treatments were combined, the benefits became statistically significant, and the researchers saw an overall reduction in cancer risk by 61%.
“This is the first randomized controlled trial to show that the combination daily vitamin D3, supplemental marine omega-3s, and a simple home exercise program may be effective in the prevention of invasive cancer among generally healthy and active adults aged 70 and older,” lead author of the study Bischoff-Ferrari commented.