Originally published May 27 2015
Vitamin B3 can reduce skin cancer risk by 23%
by Melanie Grimes
(NaturalNews) Researchers in Australia have found that taking vitamin B3 daily can prevent skin cancers. People with a history of skin cancers who took the vitamin B3 in the study had a 23 percent lower rate of getting new skin cancers, the research showed. The research used 500 mg of vitamin B3 twice a day for one year. Scientists think that the "preventive effect" begins as soon as three months after taking the vitamins. Vitamin B3 can be found in supplement form as well as in many food sources.
About the researchThe research was conducted at the University of Sydney in Australia. The location was significant because Australia has a higher incidence of skin cancers than anywhere else worldwide. Study participants were selected from people who had had two skin cancers in the previous five years. The type of cancers studied were both basal and squamous, not the more deadly type of skin cancer, melanoma. The chief medical officer from the American Society of Clinical Oncology is quoted as saying, "These are the sort of the run-of-the-mill skin cancers that so many people get. They're rarely lethal but they're very persistent and they keep coming back." Participants included 386 people and were overseen by study leader Dr. Diona Damian.
Using vitamin B3 to reduce cancer riskThe vitamins not only reduced cancer recurrence by 23 percent but also reduced pre-cancerous skin conditions. Actinic keratoses, scaly skin patches that are a precursor to skin cancers, were reduced in study participants by 11 percent at the three-month mark, and by 20 percent after six months on the vitamin supplementation. Six months after stopping the vitamin regimen, participants again developed cancers at same rate as they did before the study, showing that B3 use needs to be continual to gain the benefits. Dr. Damian stated, "The benefit wears off fairly quickly. You need to continue taking the tablets for them to continue to be effective."
About vitamin B3B3 is one of the water-soluble B vitamins also known as niacin or niacinamide. Niacin causes a flushing reaction, but niacinamide does not. Niacinamide is also used to prevent diabetes. A deficiency in B3 is called pellagra, a condition causing diarrhea, dementia and irritated skin. Pellagra was common in the early 1900s but is now mostly found in alcoholics or those with poor diets. B3 is used to treat schizophrenia, Alzheimer's disease, motion sickness, edema, acne and ADHD. Nicotinamide is a specific form of vitamin B3 that was used in the study. It is made in the body from niacin. B3 is sold over the counter and is inexpensive. However, both forms of B3 can increase allergic reactions, as they cause a histamine release. Other minor side effects can be dizziness, gas, upset stomach and mouth pain. B3 can also increase irregular heartbeats. High doses of over 3 grams a day can cause high blood sugar, stomach ulcers and other health problems.
Food sources of niacinB3 is readily available in food such as meat, fish, eggs, green vegetables and nuts, and is especially prevalent in brewer's yeast and organ meats. Chicken contains 78 mg of niacin for every 100 grams. Mushrooms contain 5 to 6 mg per 100 gram serving depending on the type of mushroom. Pork contains 10 mg of niacin in 100 grams, and peanuts have over 13 mg. Sunflower seeds are another good source of B3, topping in at over 8 mg in 100 g, or 11 mg per cup. A cup of avocado contains about 2.6 mg of niacin. Tuna and bacon are also good sources of vitamin B3. When the body has enough niacin, it converts the excess to niacinamide.
About the author:
Melanie Grimes, CCH, is a writer, health educator and homeopath. She has taught at Bastyr University and lectured internationally. Follow her blog at MelanieGrimes.com.
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