What Simple Vitamin Helps Prevent Skin Cancer?

A vitamin found in meats, nuts, grains and cereals may be more effective than sunscreen in preventing skin cancer, new research has found.

Nicotinamide, or Vitamin B3, prevents damage from both UVA and UVB radiation by protecting the immune system, and could be taken in tablet form or added to sunscreen, Associate Professor Diona Damian of the University of Sydney says.

Sunscreens provide good protection against UVB rays, which cause sunburn and skin cancer, but the products are less effective in protecting against UVA, which can also cause skin cancer.

“UV radiation in sunlight suppresses the skin’s immune system and makes it more susceptible to skin cancer,” she said.

“Our research found that nicotinamide (Vitamin B3) can prevent the immunosuppressive effects of UV by energising cells so they maintain their immunity.”

Tests using the water-soluble vitamin offered equally strong protection against both UVA and UVB in both lotion and tablet form, according to tests on volunteers, said Prof Damian.

“Nicotinamide is well-tolerated, so could also be taken orally as a supplement, particularly by people who have a higher susceptibility to skin cancer,” she said.

It is also relatively cheap to produce, she added, so it could potentially be incorporated into sunscreen to boost its effectiveness against UVA.

The research was also looking to determine whether the vitamin could be used to treat sunspots, common lesions that sometimes progress to skin cancer.

Source: The Age 2008.


Dr. Hooper’s Comment

What a fantastic bit of research.

The results of numerous studies suggest that many of the popularsunscreens could contribute to cancer due to their mutagenic andfree-radical generating properties.

Perhaps a more disturbing finding is that many of the chemicals commonly used in sunscreens have strong oestrogenic actions that may in fact interfere with the normal sexual development, and could cause reproductive problems.

Chemicals in sunscreens can also cause skin irritations, itching and ongoing rashes.

OctylMethoxycinnamar (OMC) is a common ingredient found in up to 90% ofsunscreens currently available on the market. This ingredient isactually an attracter of UV, making it twice as toxic during sunexposure. This increase in attraction of UV rays is actually increasingyour chances of developing cancer of the skin.

Another ingredient called Psoralen also increases your skin cancerrisk by as much as 83%. This is simply shocking considering that 35% of sunscreen applied to the skin is absorbed directly into the blood stream.

Studieshave shown that some of the chemicals in sunscreen are absorbed intothe bloodstream in significant amounts. The longer these chemicals areleft on the skin, the greater the absorption into the body.

Accordingto Dr. Cameron Hayden (University of Queensland, Australia), when askedabout oxybenzone, which is a compound chemical derivative common inmost sunscreens; “It would be prudent not to apply oxybenzone to largesurface areas of skin for extended and repeated periods of time, unlessno alternative protection is available.

There may be additional concern for young children who have lesswell-developed processes of elimination and have a larger [skin]surface area per body weight than adults, with respect to systemicavailability of a topically applied dose.”

Strange though that is is exactly how sunscreen is used.

Whiletoo much sun can cause sunburn and skin damage, moderate sunshine iscrucial to health. Everyone needs adequate amounts of sunlight everydayto stay healthy.

Sunshine is the main source of Vitamin D, which helps to reduce the risk of many cancers and other diseases.

It is simply a case of moderation. How much sun is too muchis dependent on individuals. Daily sun exposure can be done with thesafety of a hat, clothes and active movement – there is no need tosunbake.

Ensure that your children get around 10-15 minutes everyday in thesun, making sure that they are wearing a wide-brimmed hat andsufficient clothing.

Parents have long been in the habit ofgenerously applying sunscreen to their children every day duringsummer. As you read above, this is not a good idea as sunscreen can betoxic, and is certainly not something you want to be rubbing into yourchild’s body every day.

You may be thinking now that there are no other options. The good news is there are natural alternatives to mainstream sunscreen products.

UV Natural is an effective natural sunblock with no chemical absorbers and no titanium dioxide.

It is a broadspectrum, low irritant, non-greasy product that is made from natural, vegetable based oils and ingredients from naturally derived minerals. It is ideal for sensitive skin, and is suitable for theentire family.

I cannot recommend this product highly enough.Not only is is completely chemical free, but it actually works unlikeother natural products.

I would strongly suggest keeping a bottle in the car, in the home and in your child’s school bag.