This readily available vitamin can help prevent skin cancer 37



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If you’re heading out into the sun this weekend, you might want to consider a change to your sun protection routine.

A groundbreaking study at Sydney university has found that a vitamin can cut the risk of non-melanoma skin cancer by a huge 23 per cent.

In a trial of patients at high risk of basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, researchers at Sydney University found that a high dose of vitamin B3 taken twice a day as a supplement greatly reduced the risk of both skin cancers and pre cancerous sun spots.

The B vitamin is called nicotinamide and is also found in fish, meat, nuts, beer and Vegemite, however the study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, used B-vitamin pills, which are readily available in pharmacies, the Herald Sun reports.


Study author Dr Diona Damian says, “This is the first clear evidence that we can reduce skin cancers using a simple vitamin, together with sensible sun protection.”

She says the vitamin works like “Powerade for the skin”,  restoring cellular energy in skin cells damaged by the sun, enhancing the repair of DNA in skin cells and protecting the skin’s immune system from UV radiation.

It took just three months for the preventive effects to appear in at-risk participants and the benefits ceased when they stopped taking the vitamin, said Dr Damian.

The study was based on 380 people who had had two or more previous non-melanoma skin cancers, Dr Damian hopes to study the effects of the vitamin on people with a normal risk of skin cancer.

Participants in the study took two high-dose vitamin B supplements per day.

Dr Damian said it was important to realise it was only vitamin B3 in nicotinamide form that works against the skin cancers.

Other forms of the vitamin, niacin or Nicotinic acid, can cause adverse side effects including headaches and low blood pressure.

Have you had any skin cancers removed? Have you been advised to take any further protective measures? 

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  1. So where can we buy it?

    4 REPLY
    • I already take Vitamin D. Diane Seddon apart from pharmacies you can buy vitamin D at such places as Chemist Warehouse, Priceline and any good supermarket such as Coles or Woolworths – I buy in the bulk sizes its cheaper. We all should also be taking calcium, glucosamine, the Omega’s and a good multi vitamin in our 60’s.

  2. I would try it, I have to get 2 cut out next month and I sure there is a third on my leg, I also have to get a few minor skin cancers frozen off.

    1 REPLY
    • Yes it’s an on going thing once they start appearing. Have had lots frozen off and cut out. Had a level 3 melanoma cut out then operated on over 20 years ago. The doctor and specialist thought it was just a mole, instinct told me it wasn’t ! I always use sunblock as a moisturiser during summer. It’s a pain being fair skinned 🙁

  3. Being very fair skinned, I have used sunscreen and moisturiser with Spd for as long as I have known the danger. I have been vigilant with my kids and get cross with them even now if I see them not doing the right thing. However, sometimes it pays to look at who funds the particular study. I have found that a lot of the time, the company it benefits is who is funding it. Just saying.

  4. Probably too late for a lot of us, bronzed Aussie was the look we chased every summer and now are paying for it. I would take it if it will prevent any new damage.

    1 REPLY
    • you are right Wendy, the dermatologist told me the damage was done in our early years and in our youth

  5. I will be getting this vitamin as I have had a few problems with skin cancers (one malignant) and I don’t want any more, PS I love the hat on the lady in the photo anyone ant ideas where I can get one

    2 REPLY
  6. So they named the natural foods we can eat – then say we can buy a pill full of chemicals & made in a Lab!! Why are we being sold pills, so artificial for our bodies?

    3 REPLY
    • I think you have to eat something like two kilos of vegemite a day to get the same benefit! (or drink several gallons of beer)!

    • Nicatinamide is one of the B groups you can get from the chemist but I am usure what dosage they are using in there trials

  7. I won’t bother with spending more money to make these pharmaceutical companies rich. At my age I will take my chances.

  8. Well I am doing something right for a change been taking them since 200 but taking them for shingles damage to the nerves I take a super B

  9. Some while ago I took Niacin and it gave me hot flushes. So I think I’ll stick to my nuts,fish,meat and of course Vegemite!

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