Regular Use of Vitamin D Supplements May Cut Melanoma Risk by More Than 50%
Source: J Melanoma Research (December 2022)
Lifestyle Medicine Update (January 18, 2023)
We all know that melanoma is a very lethal form of skin cancer and the risk of developing a melanoma has increased in recent years. The American Cancer Society states that 1:38 Caucasians and 1:1000 blacks will develop melanoma in their lifetime, according to current data. So, the study published in the journal Melanoma Research in December 2022 should be viewed as being very important and instructive. Most people know that we should avoid too much UV-light exposure and protect our skin with proper clothing, hats, sunglasses, and sunscreens to help reduce risk of melanoma.
But the 2022 study in Melanoma Research suggests that regular use of vitamin D supplements alone may reduce our risk of melanoma by more than 50%, after controlling statistically for other important risk factors. Moreover, the patients studied in this trial were all patients who were already at increased risk for melanoma development, including 96 immune compromised patients. Overall, the study involved almost 500 dermatology patients, who were at increased risk for melanoma development (ages 21-79 years of age). The study showed that regular users of vitamin D supplements had more than a 50% lower incidence of developing melanoma that non-users of vitamin D supplements.
As the researchers indicated, other recent studies have provided evidence of the benefits of vitamin D in melanoma, as well, such as the association with vitamin D supplementation and less aggressive melanoma lesions. The 2022 study was conducted in an area of Finland where melanoma incidence is known to be quite high. Unfortunately, this study showed that vitamin D supplementation did not reduce the severity of severity of photoaging, facial photoaging, actinic keratoses, nevus count, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. It appeared that vitamin D supplementation was most impressive in its ability to help to reduce the development of melanoma – but that alone is very impressive and potentially lifesaving. The researchers did not comment on what dosage of vitamin D we should be taking each day, but for most people I think we can assume that 1,000 – 2,000 IU per day is a reasonable dosage, which will usually get your blood level into a protective range against many health conditions. The blood level of vitamin D to aim for, unless otherwise indicated by your doctor, is 85-150 nmol/L or 34 – 60 ng/ml
I have included the reference for this study in the text below.
Kanasuo E et al. Regular use of vitamin D supplement is associated with fewer melanoma cases compared to non-use: a cross-sectional study in 498 adult subjects at risk for skin cancers. J Melanoma Researc. 2022. https://journals.lww.com/melanomaresearch/Abstract/9900/Regular_use_of_vitamin_D_supplement_is_associated.51.aspx
Science Daily. Fewer cases of melanoma among people taking vitamin D supplements. January 8, 2023. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2023/01/230109112555.htm
Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,
Dr. James Meschino
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.