European trial examining the effectiveness of three low cost interventions in preventing or delaying chronic disease and prolonging healthy life expectancy 

DO-HEALTH (Vitamin D3-Omega3-Home Exercise - Healthy Ageing and Longevity Trial) is a seven-center European study which has evaluated evidence for home exercise, vitamin D and omega 3,  to prevent or delay chronic disease and prolong healthy life expectancy in seniors.

The unique double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial was conducted over three years, among 2157 relatively healthy community-dwelling adults age 70 years and older in seven centers in Switzerland, Germany, Austria, France, and Portugal. The initial findings of the study have now been published in JAMA [1], with further analyses expected in 2021.

In the relatively healthy and active older adults studied, the Trial did not find statistically relevant direct benefits of supplementation with 2000 IU of vitamin D, Omega3s, or the implementation of a simple home exercise program, for bone health, memory or muscle function. However omega-3s were found to reduce the risk of infections by 11% in total, and in particular for upper respiratory (10%) and urinary tract infections (62%). Vitamin D lowered systolic blood pressure in men by 2.5 mmHg and the risk of infections in younger participants (aged 70 to 74) by 16%. 

In a press release statement, study leader Professor Heike A. Bischoff-Ferrari, head of clinic at the University Hospital Zurich and senior physician at the University Clinic for Geriatrics at the Waid and Triemli Hospitals in Zurich, remarked: “Given the high safety and low costs of these supplements as well as the high mortality associated with infections in older adults, these findings are very relevant for the health of the general population.” 

Professor John Kanis, Honorary President of the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF), Director of the Centre for Metabolic Bone Diseases at Sheffield and Professor at the Catholic University of Australia, stated:  

“The IOF is committed to advancing knowledge of healthy ageing. As the communications partner to DO-HEALTH, one of the largest healthy aging trials ever carried out in Europe, we welcome the findings and ongoing opportunity to further explore the potential impact of these simple, low-cost interventions."

"We look forward to new insights which will derive from the ongoing DO-HEALTH ancillary studies which are expected in 2021 and will complete this evaluation of the potential role of the supplements and the home exercise program with regard to prevention and healthy aging.”

The ancillary studies will examine the three interventions with regard to cancer prevention, cholesterol levels, cardiovascular diseases, falls, frailty and health costs. 


[1] Bischoff-Ferrari HA, Vellas B, Rizzoli R, et al. Effect of Vitamin D Supplementation, Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation, or a Strength-Training Exercise Program on Clinical Outcomes in Older Adults: The DO-HEALTH Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. 2020;324(18):1855–1868. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.16909 

DO-HEALTH (VitaminD3-Omega3-Home Exercise-Healthy Aging and Longevity Trial) is a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled multicenter trial which studied 2150+ healthy-at-start community dwelling seniors aged 70 and older. DO-HEALTH tested the efficacy and safety of three preventive interventions: vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids and a simple home exercise program. The study was funded by the European Commission, within the European 7th Framework Program for Research and Technological Development, as well as through the University of Zurich and private sponsors that have co-funded the trial.