Take a vitamin D supplement every day, and halve your risk of melanoma
Skin cells that are damaged too often by excess sunlight can turn into cancer cells. The most dangerous type of skin cancer of all is melanoma. If you take a supplement with vitamin D every day, the risk of melanoma is reduced by more than half.
Finnish researchers studied 498 visitors aged 21-79 to the dermatology clinic at Kuopio University Hospital. All study participants had an increased risk of skin cancer. For example, they had relatives with skin cancer, a poor immune system, skin damaged by too much sunlight or spots on the skin that could develop into skin cancer.
The researchers asked the study participants whether they took vitamin D supplements. Vitamin D can protect skin cells from excess ultraviolet radiation and is important for the immune system that can clear up cancer cells.
Study participants who did not occasionally but faithfully take a daily supplement with vitamin D had a statistically significant 55 percent lower risk of melanoma.
This tells the table below. Click on it for a larger version.
If the faithful vitamin D users nevertheless developed melanoma, the disease was less aggressive than in the other users. Vitamin D supplementation had - at least in this study - no effect on other forms of skin cancer.
How vitamin D works in the body depends on the way of administration. Infrequent administration of large amounts - for example: once a month a supplement with several ten thousand IU - enzymes that inactivate vitamin D become active in skin and other cell types.
That does not happen if you take a small amount of vitamin D every day. This may explain why no reduction in the risk of melanoma occurred in infrequent users of vitamin D in this study.
Regular use of vitamin D associates with fewer melanoma cases, when compared to non-use", summarize the Finns. They do not know what dose you should take daily to be optimally protected.
"The question about the optimal dose of oral vitamin D in order to for it to have beneficial effects remains to be answered," says research leader Ilkka Harvima of the University of Eastern Finland in a press release. [sciencedaily.com, January 9, 2023]
"Until we know more, national intake recommendations should be followed."
Melanoma Res. 2023 Apr 1;33(2):126-35.
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