VITAL Trial: Marine n−3 Fatty Acids and Prevention of CV Disease and Cancer

VITAL N-3 Trial

This VITAL trial was a randomized, two-by-two factorial design, placebo-controlled trial to assess whether supplementation with n-3 fatty acids reduces risks of cardiovascular disease and cancer in a healthy, USA, adult population of 25,871 men of age ³ 50 and women age ³ 55. 12,933 people were assigned to take n-3 fatty acids, and 12,938 people were assigned to take a placebo.

Supplementation with n-3 fatty acids did not result in a significant difference in the primary outcomes. Of the group treated with n-3 fatty acids, there were 386 events of MI, stroke, or death from cardiovascular causes which did not significantly differ from the 419 events in the placebo group (HR 0.92; 95% CI of 0.80 to 1.06; p=0.24). Of the group treated with n-3 fatty acids, there were 820 diagnoses of invasive cancer which did not significantly differ from the 797 events in the placebo group (HR 1.03; 95% CI of 0.93 to 1.13; p=0.56).

Thus, the authors of the VITAL trial concluded that supplementation with n-3 fatty acids did not result in a lower incidence of major cardiovascular events or cancer than placebo.

Key Point:

  1. n-3 fatty acid supplementation does not decrease incidence of cardiovascular events or cancer
  2. This same population was studied for a VITAL trial showing that Vitamin D3 supplementation does not decrease incidence of cardiovascular events or cancer