Australian researchers recently released a study revealing that nicotinamide, a form of vitamin B3, significantly reduces the incidence of non-melanoma skin cancers among people who have had a previous basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma. The researchers conducted a year-long study of 386 people, who averaged 66 years old. Half of the people in the study took 500 milligrams of nicotinamide (vitamin B3) twice a day and the other half were put on a placebo. The researchers found that people who took vitamin B3 twice a day cut their chances of developing new skin cancers by 23 percent.
Here are a few things to note. One thousand milligrams of vitamin B3 is *a lot.* The recommended dietary allowance for vitamin B3 is 14 milligrams daily. Vitamin B3 is naturally found in grains, mushrooms, meat, and fish, but it would be impossible to obtain 1000 milligrams a day from diet alone. For example, a cup of spelt grain has about 6 milligrams. In order to consume as much nicotinamide as the subjects in the study, you will have to take a supplement. Secondly, it is very important to get nicotinamide rather than niacin (another form of vitamin B3). Large doses of niacin take orally can be very unpleasant, with hot facial flushing and gastrointestinal distress. (Niacin, on the other hand is a great way to naturally lower your cholesterol, if you can put up with the side effects. Taking an aspirin 30 minutes before you take the niacin can alleviate some of the discomfort.)
The results of the Australian study are certainly promising, but the nicotinamide won't replace your regular sun protection! You should still consider adopting a complete sun protection regimen that includes seeking shade and covering up with clothing, including a wide-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses, in addition to daily sunscreen use.
Posted on Wed, July 1, 2015
by Heidi Gilchrist