Melanoma (skin cancer) found to be easily prevented with low-cost Vitamin B-3

RHONDA JOHANSSON–Researchers from the University of Sydney, Australia believe that nicotinamide (vitamin B3) can be used to prevent the incidence of melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer. The study, published in Photodermatology, Photoimmunology, and Photomedicine, demonstrates the efficacy of vitamin B3 in reducing or even reversing DNA damage and inflammation caused by ultraviolet radiation. Authors of the review say that more research into the topic is necessary but conclude that should their data be further verified, it could lead to a cheap and potent solution to skin cancer.

The team noted that nicotinamide costs around $10 per month if taken at the recommended dosage of one gram a day. This is significantly less expensive than conventional cancer therapies, which usually include chemotherapy sessions and various forms of medications.

The vitamin therapy was observed to be effective in decreasing the incidence of non-melanoma skin cancer among high-risk individuals. Dr. Gary Halliday, senior author of the study said that randomized placebo controlled trials are now needed to confirm a similar effect among high-risk melanoma patients. (Related: Fight skin cancer through nutrition not sunscreen.)

A primer on vitamin B3 and melanoma

Vitamin B3 is known by many names including niacin, niacinamide, nicotinic acid, and nicotinamide. It can be sourced through the consumption of lean meats, brewer’s yeast, whole grains, and nuts. Most people, however, tend to get their vitamin B3 through supplements.

Vitamin B3 is essential for healthy nervous and digestive function and promotes skin health. Those with cholesterol problems can also take the vitamin to balance their triglyceride levels. There is some evidence that also points to the vitamin’s use in the production of bile salts and the synthesis of sex hormones.

The vitamin is mostly recommended however for improving brain health. Certain psychiatric symptoms are claimed to be alleviated with an ample dose of vitamin B3. Preliminary studies also suggest that vitamin B3 can prevent dementia.

While no side-effects have been seen in taking niacin through food, sourcing the vitamin through supplements can lead to various adverse conditions. An overdose of niacin can lead to stomach irritation, nausea, liver damage, gout, and blurred vision.

Vitamin B3’s exact uses and functions are still being determined by medical science. One of the areas that scientists are looking into is the vitamin’s capacity to prevent cancer.

Melanoma is a type of cancer that usually forms on the skin. It begins when the pigment-producing cell, melanin, begins to mutate and multiply rapidly. Because melanoma forms on the skin, it is relatively easy to detect and treat early. Doctors say that 90 percent of all melanoma cases are caused by exposure to ultraviolet rays from natural and artificial sources, including indoor tanning beds. The remaining ten percent takes into account family history, genetics, and other environmental factors.

The prognosis for melanoma is normally good, although this depends on how early the cancer is detected.

It is important that you are aware of the warning signs of melanoma. This means consistently checking for abnormal moles, brown spots, or growths on the skin. Take note of these red flags:

  • Asymmetry – Draw a line in the middle of a mole and see if both halves match. Moles that are asymmetrical are more likely to be cancerous.
  • Border – Benign moles have smooth, even borders. Watch out for moles that have scalloped or notches borders.
  • Color – Noncancerous moles are usually one color. Having a mole that has a variety of colors is a warning sign that something is wrong.
  • Diameter – Malignant moles are normally larger than benign ones.
  • Evolving – Moles that seem to change over time can be cancerous.

To learn more about cancer and its prevention, go to

  • Jeffrey Spinner

    This actually is an important article. I agree there is a lot of evidence for the need of human supplementation of Vitamin D3 (sun activated form), other than the population is greatly deficient of it (by design, keep putting on your carcinogenic sunscreens).

    D3 has also been shown to be 8x more effective in preventing the flu than a flu shot (I assume the flu shot is placebo effect), so D3 is not just for healthy bones, be very important.

    The problem here is dose. What is an effective dose? Doctors in their unbroken history of fk’ing things up, give patients 1,000,000 iu injections of Vitamin D (don’t remember form) IM. Vitamin D being lipophillic can accumulate and cause problems if not careful…so again then, is the RDA of 400 iu a reasonable amount? Doubt it, given the majority of the population is so low of Vitamin D3 as to be equal to people held in dungeons.

    I’ve experimented and have found doses for me that are effective is in the 10,000 iu/day range of D3. Genetics can cause variability in outcomes, so it might be different for you. I’ve found I could decrease supplementation in the summer months if I get sun, but not as much as I thought I would…

    How can you tell if your Vitamin D3 status is at the right level? Go to a doc and get a blood test. I’ve found a simpler way though: Take your thumb and press it’s nail into another finger nail. If that finger nail easily bends, (or visa versa finger to thumb nail if you want it on the low normal range) you are too low.

    At the same time, don’t overdose, vitamins unlike the dangerous pharmacopeia doctors have access to takes a little time to affect changes. I would ask my doctor if you choose to go over 10,000iu/day. Vitamin D3 can cause issues because it’s not like B vitamins (is the woman in your life nuts? give her b complex, only with meals, unless she has toxoplasmosis, then gl to you) where you just pee out the excess and give the frogs super jumpy powers (if they weren’t trying to figure out if they were male or female given all the birth control pills peed out by women…).