Extra Support for At-Risk Skin

Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine has shown a form of vitamin B3 to be “safe and effective in reducing the rates of new nonmelanoma skin cancers and actinic keratoses in high-risk patients.”

The study defined “high-risk” as people having 2 non-melanoma skin cancers in the past 5 years; this included basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas. Also, pre-cancerous growths called actinic keratoses (sometimes “AK” for short) were monitored.

Vitamin B3 is common and most likely in your multivitamin and/or B complex, if you take either. You can also get it from foods (especially plant foods). To get a therapeutic dose, a supplement would get you that higher amount. However, as with most supplements, the molecular formulation matters.

  • Generic B3 would not be so helpful here.
  • The specific form that has been studied is called nicotinamide, or niacinamide.
  • The dosage understood to be helpful was 500mg of this form, 2-3 times daily.

B vitamins are water soluble, so your body typically excretes what it doesn’t need in your urine. That said, always check with your own healthcare provider before trying a new supplement or health protocol.

The high-risk individuals in the study were monitored over 18 months, after which the number of non-melanoma skin cancers and AKs was approximately 20-30% lower in the treatment group than the placebo group.

Another great way to support your skin health? Protect it with sunscreen or clothing/shade when you’re outdoors during the daytime for more than 10-15 minutes at a time.

May you be well.

DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1506197

This blog and website do not provide medical advice. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Always check with your own healthcare provider before taking a new supplement and before making any significant diet, lifestyle, exercise or other changes. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on this site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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