Promising results for reducing melanoma risk come from a new study that found that one of the benefits of vitamin A supplements is that they provide protection against disfiguring, dangerous, and sometimes fatal melanomas. However, researchers do not recommend starting to take vitamin A supplements because this nutrient can be dangerous in high doses.
Vitamin A is naturally found in foods such as carrots, eggs, milk, liver, spinach and sweet potatoes and plays a key role in vision, bone health, reproduction, cell division and differentiation, and immune system control.
It is also known to help skin and mucous membranes stay healthy and protect them from bacteria and viruses. Research has shown that most Americans have adequate vitamin A in their diet and that vitamin A deficiency is rare in this country.
Researchers looking for a link between vitamin A and melanoma were studying melanoma risk in 69,635 subjects, whose average age was 62. After six years, 566 were diagnosed with melanoma.
There were 506 melanomas for 59,000 subjects who had never taken vitamin A supplements, but there were only 28 cases for 5,800 who had taken dietary supplements and used them regularly in the past decade.
In fact, those who received additional vitamin A through supplements were nearly 40% less likely to be diagnosed with melanoma than those who did not take the supplement.
Surprisingly, nutritional supplements only reduce the risk by not getting the nutrients from food.
The reduced risk is greater for women than for men, and the greatest protection lies in areas of the body that are frequently exposed to the sun. Women can benefit more than men because they are more susceptible to skin damage from UV radiation than men.
The researchers insist that the reduction in melanoma is related to dietary supplements, not nutrition obtained from food. They knew this because the protective benefits were seen only in those who consumed more vitamin A than commercial multivitamin formulas.
And only vitamin A, without carotenoids, lowers the risk of melanoma. Carotenoids are precursors (which are changed by the body when needed) for vitamin A – beta-carotene or lycopene may be familiar names.
Other experts not involved in the study were not surprised that vitamin A provided protection against melanoma. The problem is, experts are quick to warn that these results are still preliminary and that excessive amounts of vitamin A are dangerous; can cause serious risks such as birth defects, lower bone mineral density or liver toxicity, and troublesome symptoms such as dry skin or hair loss.
The National Institutes of Health recommends a daily intake of 700 micrograms of vitamin A for women and 900 micrograms for men. Ingesting more than 2800 micrograms can cause poisoning symptoms.
Researchers suggest that this nutritional supplement may appear in high-risk patients, for example. B. in patients with fair skin, sunburn marks or multiple moles on the skin. For all of us, if you care about skin cancer, keep the sunshine and add a multivitamin which has the benefits of vitamin A as one of the many nutrients. These people should also stay out of the sun, use sunscreen constantly, and have a dermatologist check it out annually.