SYDNEY, May 15 – According to a research, Nicotinamide, a form of Vitamin B3 was found to prevent non melanoma skin cancer by boosting the ability of the skin to repair DNA and boosting the immune system. Vitamin B3 is a cheap vitamin and commercially widely available.

Dr. Diona Damian, a professor of dermatology at the University of Sydney says, “It’s safe, it’s almost obscenely inexpensive, and it’s already widely commercially available.”

However she was quick to add that more research is needed and “it’s not something we’d recommend at this stage for the general population.”

Constant exposure to UV rays from the sun can precipitate skin cancer by damaging the DNA of the skin cells and also harming the skin’s immune system. Nicotinamide was found to actually strengthen the skin’s defense mechanisms, as well as helping skin cells repair DNA.

The most common types of skin cancer are the squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma and are often caused by exposure to sunlight. The prognosis of skin cancer is good and most patients recover but recurrence is quite common. If untreated and unresolved such skin cancers can form large lesions requiring surgical intervention.

The study involved 400 patients who were having a history of at least two non-melanoma skin cancers in the previous five years — basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma. The subjects selected for the one year study were divided into two equal groups. One group was given twice-daily doses of nicotinamide and the other half receiving a placebo.

Damian said, “This reduction in skin cancers seemed to start as early as the first three-month visit with rates of new cancer down 23 percent among patients taking the vitamin as compared with those who were given nothing.”

Researchers were able to observe the effects of Nicotinamide on the patient’s skin besides finding lower levels of cancer. The study has not yet been published and will be presented to the American Society of Clinical Oncology on May 30.

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