Study: Vitamin A reduces melanoma risk

March 14, 2012

A new study suggests that vitamin A supplements can reduce the risk of developing melanoma.

Oakland, Calif. - A new study suggests that vitamin A supplements can reduce the risk of developing melanoma.

In a six-year study involving 69,000 men and women, those who took vitamin A supplements were 60 percent less likely to develop melanoma than those who had taken none, MSNBC reports. People who had taken the vitamin but had stopped did not gain any protective effect.

Among the 59,000 participants who had never taken vitamin A supplements, there were 506 cases of melanoma, while among the 5,800 people who were currently taking it and had used it regularly over the past 10 years, there were 28 cases. The reduced risk was more pronounced in women than men.

Study researcher Maryam Asgari, M.D., a dermatologist and research scientist at Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research in Oakland, told MSNBC that the protective effect might be stronger in women than in men because men may be more susceptible to skin damage from ultraviolet radiation.

The study also found that the melanoma risk was reduced the most in those who took high doses of vitamin A, but Dr. Asgari cautioned that taking too much vitamin A can lead to birth defects, liver problems and bone loss. The National Institutes of Health’s recommended daily amount of vitamin A is 700 micrograms for adult women and 900 micrograms for adult men. More than 2,800 micrograms can lead to toxic symptoms.

The study appears in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.

Go back to the Dermatology Times eNews newsletter.