Calcium, Fish Oil, B Vitamins Could Extend Your Life

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

Research released this week highlights the power of fish oil, vitamin B, and calcium to protect against major health conditions.

Nutritional supplements and vitamins are an increasingly popular way for people to ensure their bodies get the nutrition they need, even if their diets are less than perfect.

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While many claims circulated about the benefits of vitamins are anecdotal, ongoing clinical research is helping to separate myth from fact and to show how supplements can help people stay healthy by lowering the risk of common diseases.

Calcium May Help Women Live Longer

Most postmenopausal women are encouraged to take calcium supplements to protect against the degenerative bone disease osteoporosis, but new research from McGill University in Canada says that 1,000mg of calcium a day can also help these women live longer.

Fish Oil, Heart Disease, and Type 2 Diabetes

Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health say fish oil capsules do this by increasing levels of the hormone adiponectin, which helps the body regulate glucose levels and inflammation. They reviewed information from 14 clinical trials involving more than 1,200 patients.

According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, about 37 percent of U.S. adults take fish oil supplements.

B Vitamins May Help Protect Against Alzheimer’s

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University of Oxford researchers say that vitamin B supplements may protect the brain from the degenerative effects of Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

In clinical trials, researchers gave patients with an increased risk of dementia high-dose treatments of the B vitamins folic acid, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12, and found that the treatments slowed brain shrinkage over the course of two years.

Researchers say the therapy works because B vitamins decrease levels of homocysteine, an amino acid, which in turn decreases the amount of atrophy in the brain’s gray matter. In their study, homocysteine levels were nearly 30 percent lower in those receiving the B vitamin treatment.

Researchers said that further B vitamin supplementation trials should focus on elderly patients with high homocysteine levels to determine if the progression to full-fledged dementia can be prevented.

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