According to findings by Finnish researchers, those who take Vitamin D supplements regularly are at a significantly lower risk of developing skin cancer. While the exact link between melanoma and vitamin D isn’t known, this latest research highlights the potential benefits it has on our health.
Here, we look at what the latest study found, and how Vitamin D may reduce the risk of Melanoma.
What were the findings of the latest study?
Published in Melanoma Research on December 28th 2022, the latest study included almost 500 participants from a dermatology clinic. All patients taking part in the study were taking Vitamin D supplements.
It was discovered that those who took the supplements regularly were 55% less likely to develop skin cancer. Those who took the supplements occasionally saw a 46% reduction in their risk. Interestingly, the reduced risk applied to all types of skin cancer.
While these results were promising, the researchers were quick to point out that the study had its limitations. The current results couldn’t confirm the causal link between reduced melanoma risk and Vitamin D. They also stated that even if a link was confirmed, there would still be a question over the optimal dose of the vitamin to experience its cancer-fighting benefits.
Until more is known, patients are advised to take only the recommended dosage of Vitamin D.
How does Vitamin D reduce Melanoma risk?
Although the exact link isn’t known, there are theories as to why Vitamin D might reduce the risk of cancer.
Vitamin D, also known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’, is thought to help reduce the risk of skin cancer. It activates the body’s natural defence mechanisms against the damaging effects of UV radiation. This regulates cell growth and reduces inflammation in the skin. The vitamin can also help repair DNA damage caused by UV radiation and suppress the development of abnormal cells that can lead to cancer.
However, it’s important to note that excessive sun exposure, even if you are taking Vitamin D supplements, can still lead to skin cancer. So, you’ll need to protect your skin by using sunscreen and wearing protective clothing when spending time outdoors.
Taking Vitamin D supplements is an effective way of ensuring you get the recommended daily amount without putting your skin at risk. Especially in winter when you are naturally exposed to less Vitamin D than in the warmer summer months.
Melanoma rates rising in Western populations
This latest research could prove useful in helping to protect against the rising rates of melanoma in Western populations. The risks are especially high for those who are immunosuppressed.
The rise in cases is being blamed on increased ultraviolet radiation, as well as reduction in natural exposure to Vitamin D. Of course, there are other factors to consider too, such as genetics, and lifestyle factors such as smoking and obesity.
If you are worried you may have Melanoma, it is important to seek medical treatment. While topping up your Vitamin D levels may help, it should never be an alternative to seeking proper treatment.