Dr. Gourmet's Health & Nutrition Bites

Vitamin D supplements don't prevent cancer or heart disease

Timothy S. Harlan, M.D.

For years people have been taking Vitamin D supplements in conjunction with calcium supplements as a way to prevent bone loss. More recently some research has shown higher incidences of cancer and heart disease in people whose blood levels of Vitamin D were considered low. This is quite serious, as many, if not most, people don't get enough Vitamin D: few foods provide Vitamin D in significant amounts, and for most people their primary source of Vitamin D is sunlight. Yet with a greater awareness of the risk of skin cancer, people are avoiding the sun and wearing sunscreen more often, leaving them at higher risk of Vitamin D deficiency.

That said, seeing a relationship between low Vitamin D levels and cancer or low Vitamin D levels and heart disease is not the same as establishing that low Vitamin D causes cancer or heart disease: the only way to establish that is a randomized, controlled trial.

Funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health and other organizations, a team of Harvard-affiliated researchers designed the Vitamin D and Omega-3 Trial (VITAL) to assess whether taking oral supplements of Vitamin K or omega-3 fatty acids would prevent cancers or heart disease. Vitamin D supplementation »

Learn to Eat for My Condition

Zucchini SoupCoumadin (warfarin) Diet

This guide will help you manage your Vitamin K intake while still eating great food. Lists of foods that are high (and low) in Vitamin K, Coumadin-safe recipes and more! Get the book! The Dr. Gourmet Diet for Coumadin Users paperback: $19.95 + s/h | PDF: $14.95

Shrimp ScampiGERD / Acid Reflux / Heartburn Diet

This five-step guide to reducing the burn comes with easy tummy tips and delicious recipes to help you manage your reflux. Get the book! The Dr. Gourmet Diet for People with GERD / Acid Reflux: paperback: $19.95 + s/h | PDF: $14.95

a person pouring salt from a salt shakerLow Sodium Diet

Following a diet that's low in sodium (salt) doesn't have to be bland or boring! With these healthy, low sodium recipes from Dr. Gourmet, you'll be eating well and eating healthy without needing to reach for the salt shaker. Get the book! The Dr. Gourmet Low Sodium Diet: paperback: $19.95 + s/h | PDF: $14.95

Glass of MilkLactose Intolerance Diet

It's not unusual to have difficulty digesting lactose and needing to avoid foods containing cheese or milk. This index will help guide you to Dr. Gourmet recipes you'll safely enjoy. Lactose Intolerant Recipe Guide and More Information

FishDiabetes Diet

What is the best diet for those with diabetes? A Mediterranean Diet! For diabetics, eating well is THE key to controlling blood sugar. For those with Type 2 diabetes, The Mediterranean Diet seems to help you control your diabetes better, without medication. The Best Diabetes Diet

The Mediterranean Diet

Shrimp Taco Salad
What is a Mediterranean Diet? Find out how familiar foods are part of this healthy style of eating.

Ask Dr. Gourmet

Have a question about food or nutrition? Dr. Harlan answers your questions. Ask Dr. Gourmet.

Fast Food Guide

Burger and Fries

What are the healthiest choices at fast food restaurants? We've compiled a list: Fast Food Guide

Eat Healthy

It's easier than you think to eat well and eat healthy. Find out how to make eating healthy part of your life.

Healthy Recipes

Delicious, healthy recipes that taste great? Yes! Try an easy, healthy recipe from Dr. Gourmet today.


Learn how to make the most out of your exercise with easy-to-follow exercise videos and training plans.


Food Reviews

TV Dinner

We've reviewed frozen meals and convenience foods so you can eat well and eat healthy.

News You Can Use

the ingredients for a healthy fish soup

Get the facts - based on peer-reviewed research - on health and nutrition. We report on the latest nutrition news and tell you how you can use it in your daily life. Health and Nutrition Bites.


The How and Why of Eating Healthy

Place Setting

Simple, straightforward articles on eating healthy in the real world. The How and Why of Eating Healthy.

A Healthy Pregnancy

a breastfeeding baby

Pregnant or planning to be? Diet tips, do's and don'ts for your pregnancy. A Healthy Pregnancy


Get the Coumadin Diet Plan and Cookbook!

Coumadin Book

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How Much Vitamin K is in...?

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Featured Recipes

Broccoli Corn Taco Bake

When I was growing up we would have what my mom called tamale pie. It was essentially tacos in a Pyrex dish baked and I still love it. The tortillas give it a great corn flavor and then there are beans, cheese onions and jalapeƱos.

This version is based on one of my favorite tacos that I have at a taco joint. It's a great place because you can build your own tacos from a list of great ingredients - different veggies, beans, salsas, etc.. I build mine with the broccoli, cheese, roasted garlic, corn, and black beans. I was thinking about wanting some of those tacos at lunch the other day, and the idea of combining those flavors - roasted broccoli along with the sweet and umami roasted garlic and corn with the savory onions and cheese - as a tamale pie popped into my head. Try this recipe. Make extra and take it for lunch this week.

Here are few other tamale pie recipes for you to try:
Pantry Meals: Tamale Pie with Black Beans
Tamale Pie with Polenta

Bean and Tomato Pasta Bake

You make lasagna using uncooked noodles and baking them with the sauce in the oven, so why not do it with macaroni? Add all the ingredients in the pan, bake, and boom: rich, creamy, cheesy pasta.

The garlic, rich tomato paste, and rosemary come together really well. You could create fantastic variations on this with different flavors. Try sun dried tomato paste or dried oregano, or add some smoked paprika or maybe some red pepper flakes for some spice.