In a review conducted at the University of Sydney and published in Photodermatology, Photoimmunology and Photomedicine, the authors concluded that nicotinamide, the active form of vitamin B3, may help prevent melanoma.
Malignant melanoma begins in the melanocytes – skin cells that produce the protective pigment melanin. UV radiation exposure from sunlight, which damages cell DNA, is a known risk factor for melanoma – one that sunscreen may not protect against. (Natural health experts note that sunscreen may prevent people from obtaining enough beneficial vitamin D, which is strongly associated with cancer protection.)
Encouragingly, the researchers found that nicotinamide – also known as niacinamide – boosts DNA repair in response to UV exposure. Study co-author Diona Damian reported that nicotinamide replenishes energy stores of keratinocytes (epidermal skin cells) diminished by sun exposure – allowing them to repair DNA damage more efficiently.
Diona Damian, a co-author of the study, reported that nicotinamide re-fill energy stores of keratinocytes, or epidermal skin cells, reduced by sun exposure. This enables them to repair DNA damage more efficiently. Moreover, nicotinamide lessens inflammation, which is another risk factor for cancer. It does this by inhibiting synthesis of inflammatory substances, such as interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor alpha. Furthermore, vitamin B3 helps lessen the immune suppressive effects of sunlight on skin.