Harvard Medical School Doctors JoAnn Manson and Jule Buring are launching a study with 20,000 test subjects that aim to explain why African Americans have higher occurrence rates of cancer, strokes, and heart disease when compared to people with pale skin.
Researchers currently think the explanation may lay in skin color, due to the fact that darker skin is not able to absorb as much Vitamin D from natural sunlight.
Thus, the study will include a trial of Vitamin D and fish oil to see if dietary D supplements can help alleviate the problem.
The study will include 5,000 African Americans and 15,000 white skinned individuals all of which will be women over 65 and men over 60 who do not have any past history of cancer or heart disease.
Participants will be split into four groups in which some are given placebos, some are given Vitamin D, and the remaining two groups will be given half of a real supplement and half placebos together.
Manson said that the information needs to be approached with caution and a final word from the test trials as many other Vitamins that were thought to be wonderful disease preventers did not pan out according to plan including Vitamin E, C, and folic acid.
Vitamin D has been tested in a large control group of women previously but it was at a much lower dose and was combined with calcium instead of fish oil.
Fish oil has also been tested previous to this study, but it was in a control group of those who already had a history of cardiovascular disease or diabetes.