A new study has found that a relatively common cheap vitamin has been found to reduce the risk of non-melanoma skin cancers when taken on a regular basis.
The study has not yet been published; it will be presented to the American Society of Clinical Oncology on May 30th.
A form of the vitamin B3, nicotinamide, boosts suppression of the immune system after exposure to ultraviolet light and enhanced DNA repair. This vitamin seems to prevent skin cancer in people who had previously had them.
More research is needed therefore it is not something that can be recommended at this stage for the general population. However, taking the vitamin is safe and fairly inexpensive and it widely commercially available.
Exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun can lead to developing skin cancer by damaging DNA in the skin and harming the skin’s immune system. Nicotinamide has been shown to strengthen the skin’s defense mechanisms, as well as skin cells repair DNA.
The study consisted of four hundred patients based on a history of having at least two non-melanoma skin cancers in the previous five years. Half of the patients received twice daily doses of nicotinamide and the other half of the patients received a placebo.
Researchers observed a reduction in skin cancers as early as the first three-month visit. Rates of new cancer decreased by 23% among patients taking the vitamin compared with those who received the placebo.
Researchers assert that in addition to finding lower levels of cancer, there were visible effects of the vitamin on the patients’ skin.
Once patients stopped taking the vitamin, follow up exams found the vitamin’s effects to have disappeared.