Vitamin B3 may help reduce skin cancer risk, research finds

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Scientists from the University of Sydney found that vitamin B3 may help reduce skin cancer risk in people with a high risk.

The research was published in The New England Journal of Medicine and conducted by Andrew C Chen et al.

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer. The main types of skin cancer are squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, and melanoma.

Melanoma is much less common than the other types but much more likely to invade nearby tissue and spread to other parts of the body.

Nonmelanoma skin cancers, such as basal-cell carcinoma and squamous-cell carcinoma, are common cancers that are caused by ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

Previous research has found that nicotinamide (vitamin B3) has protective effects against damage caused by UV radiation.

Nicotinamide is a water-soluble form of vitamin B3 or niacin. It is made in the body by eating niacin-rich foods such as fish, poultry, nuts, legumes, eggs, and cereal grains.

Nicotinamide supplements are used to treat skin conditions and niacin deficiencies.

Vitamin B3 is an important nutrient. Every part of your body needs it to function properly.

As a supplement, niacin may help lower cholesterol, ease arthritis, and boost brain function, among other benefits. However, it can also cause serious side effects if you take large doses.

In the current study, researchers examined 386 people who had had at least two nonmelanoma skin cancers in the previous five years.

These people received 500 mg of vitamin B3 twice daily or a placebo for 12 months.

Participants were checked by dermatologists at 3-month intervals for 18 months.

The team found at 12 months, the risk of new nonmelanoma skin cancers was lower by 23% in the vitamin B3 group than in the placebo group.

Similar differences were found between the vitamin B3 group and the placebo group with new basal-cell carcinomas, and new squamous-cell carcinomas.

The team also found the number of actinic keratoses was 11% lower in the nicotinamide group than in the placebo group at 3 months, 14% lower at 6 months, 20% lower at 9 months, and 13% lower at 12 months.

The team concluded that oral vitamin B3 is safe and effective in reducing the risks of new nonmelanoma skin cancers in people with high risks.

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