The daily intake of vitamin B3, nicotinamide, would reduce by 23% the risk of the most common skin cancer (carcinoma) in people at high risk.
In addition to sun protection and regular monitoring of its skin, this vitamin B3 is a new weapon against these tumors steadily rising. The point with Dr. Anny Cohen-Letessier, dermatologist.
Skin Cancer: most frequent carcinoma but less severe
There are two main types of skin cancer that will be healed by vitamin B3 : carcinomas and melanomas. The latter are often daunting because they have the ability to spread quickly to other parts of the body (metastasis) 1. The first are the most common : “They represent over 90% of skin cancer and usually occurs after 50 years They occur on exposed areas of the body after years of chronic exposure to ultraviolet light (sunlight or tanning booth) often. excessive depletion and ways of defense and repair of the body.
Among these, there are two types:
Basal cell carcinomas (70% of skin cancers) are the least serious. They tend to recur locally and expand, they may be multiple, but give only very rarely metastasize. Sunburns in adulthood taken would be critical in their appearance;
Squamous cell carcinoma (or squamous cell) rare (20% of skin cancer) can spread to other organs but are easily treatable with early detection and surgical treatment.
Despite numerous prevention campaigns, the number of skin cancer are increasing worldwide. With over 65 000 new cases per year in France, carcinomas are among the most common cancers. In Australia, these cancers affect more than half of the population during their term life.3,4.
Vitamin B3 helps the skin to combat UV damage
Although widely proven carcinogenic mechanism of ultraviolet (due to exposure to sunlight or artificial UV) are not known with certainty. “UV rays now thought to have two effects: first, they will break the DNA, that is to say, the cell control circuits, and cause cell mutations responsible for a cancerous growth on the other hand, they reduce the action of the immune system of the skin that contributes to the eradication of abnormal cells before they proliferate, “says Dr Anny Cohen-Letessier.
Many studies have suggested that vitamin B3 or nicotinamide could enhance DNA repair and protect the immune system of the skin against UV5,6 rays. “We have long known the virtues of nicotinamide to the skin. It was known as vitamin PP name for pellagra preventive because a deficiency was responsible for pellagra (a disease of nutritional deficiencies in time of war), characterized by dermatological, gastrointestinal and cerebral symptoms. it is found as an active ingredient in topical creams in anti-aging (antioxidant, anti-stain, anti-inflammatory …) “added Dr. Anny Cohen-Letessier.
According to the researchers, nicotinamide is converted by the cell into nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD), essential for energy production. His contribution would restore cellular energy production blocked by exposure to UV rays, giving cells the energy needed to repair damaged DNA and maintaining the action of the immune system.
A 23% reduction in the risk of carcinoma
It remained to prove that these effects demonstrated in mice and skin cell cultures were indeed found in humans. This is the subject of a study funded by the National Institute of Health and the Australian Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and presented at the International Congress on Cancer (ASCO 2015) 7.
In total, the researchers recruited 386 patients with at least two skin cancers (non-melanoma) in the last five years. A patient profile considered at high risk is representative of patients with this type of cancer (average age of 66 years, to two thirds of men, women are less affected). Many of these patients were also followed for other medical problems such as heart disease, arthritis, high blood pressure and chronic lung diseases. Half of them received a placebo and the other half received 500 milligrams of nicotinamide for 12 months.
Result: the group treated with nicotinamide were 23% less skin cancer. The treated people saw the number of actinic keratoses (skin lesions that can become cancerous) decrease by 11% at 3 months and 20% after 9 months.
While this form of vitamin B3 can sometimes cause headaches, flushing, low blood pressure …, this study does not report serious side effects. The preventive effectiveness is comparable to basal cell and squamous cell cancers.
Sun protection, monitoring and vitamin B3: the UV cocktail
Further studies will determine whether nicotinamide can help reduce skin cancer in people whose immune system is weakened, such as transplant recipients of organs must take immunosuppressive drugs to life.8.
But now, these findings may have clinical impact. “This is the first evidence that we can reduce the number of skin cancers using a simple vitamin, combined with a real sun protection. We hope these results will translate immediately into clinical practice,” said the Pr. Diona Damian from Sydney Dermatology University and lead author of the study.
Nicotinamide is safe, affordable and available over the counter in many countries. These findings could reduce the health and economic impact of skin cancer. “If these results are confirmed, this molecule taken orally, we will give an additional weapon to combat and prevent these cancers especially for patients at risk,” said Dr. Anny Cohen-Letessier.
The foods naturally rich in vitamin B3
Brewer’s yeast is rich with about 40 mg per 100 grams, before the coffee powder ‘nearly 30 mg). Vitamin B3 is found mainly in chicken meat, cereals and biscuits, peanuts, liver meats (veal, calf, lamb), tuna … Vegetables generally contain much less.
For the President of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), Pr. Paul Yu, “Every opportunity to prevent cancer is good news. With this study, we have a simple and inexpensive way to help people to prevent new skin cancers among the most common. with a single daily pill, combined with sun protection and regular monitoring dermatologist, people at high risk of this type of skin cancer now have d a real prevention strategy. “