Common Vitamin May Help Prevent Certain Skin Cancers

A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Sydney indicates that nicotinamide, a form of vitamin B3, significantly decreased recurrence of non-melanoma skin cancers among patients with a history of skin cancer.

The year-long study of 386 people between the ages of 30 and 91 years old enrolled patients who had developed skin cancer at least twice in the past five years. They were randomly assigned to either receive 500 milligrams of nicotinamide or a placebo. Subjects who took nicotinamide had a 23 percent lower rate of new skin cancers compared to those who took placebo pills.

Nicotinamide was shown to enhance DNA repair and restore the skin’s immunity. When the test subjects stopped taking the vitamin, the benefit was lost. Additionally, unlike niacin, another form of B3, the supplement did not cause side effects such as headaches, flushing, or low blood pressure.

The research team was led by Diona Damian, a professor of dermatology at the University of Sydney. Damian describes the potential of the supplement saying:

This is the first clear evidence that we can reduce skin cancers using a simple vitamin, together with sensible sun protection. It’s safe, it’s almost obscenely inexpensive and it’s widely available. This one is ready to go straight into the clinic.”

Damian asserted that the research did not look at the general population, but only people who had previously suffered diseases such as squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma. People who have not been diagnosed with such cancers are not advised to take nicotinamide preventatively.

Study results were released on Wednesday, May 13th, and will be presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology scheduled for later this month.

Read More – “Common Vitamin Reduces Recurrence of Some Skin Cancers,” (Lenny Bernstein, The Washington Post)

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Mackenzie is a Marketing Fellow and a rising junior at Villanova University. She is planning to co-major in Marketing and Finance and minor in Business Entrepreneurship. As a part of her studies, she has created and presented a comprehensive marketing plan to professionals from The Vanguard Group featuring Vanguard's exchange-traded funds.

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