Can Vitamin B3 Prevent Skin Cancer?

Studies have shown Vitamin B3 helps in the prevention of non-melanoma skin cancers such as squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and basal cell carcinoma (BCC).

What is Vitamin B3?

Vitamin B3, also known as niacin, is an essential nutrient, meaning that your body needs it to function correctly. There are two chemical forms of Vitamin B3: nicotinamide or nicotinic acid and Niacinamide. Nicotinic acid reduces cholesterol levels and lowers the risk of heart disease.

Niacinamide does not lower cholesterol, but has proven helpful in reducing risk for non-melanoma skin cancer and skin conditions such as psoriasis.

Vitamin B3 also increases skin elasticity and reduces sun damage, blotchiness, fine wrinkles and pigmentation.

Benefits of Vitamin B3 in Non-Melanoma Skin Cancers

Studies show that high-risk skin cancer patients given 500mg of Vitamin B3 twice a day for a year experienced a 23 percent reduction of new non-melanoma skin cancers, 20 percent reduction in basal cell carcinomas and 30 percent reduction in squamous cell carcinomas.

Vitamin B3 in the nicotinamide form helps replenish cellular energy and repair damaged DNA. It’s contained in foods like meats, fish, eggs, cereals, milk, nuts and legumes, but, for skin cancer patients, the amounts in these foods are too low to provide therapeutic doses. Multivitamins also do not contain enough Vitamin B3 for those at risk of skin cancer.

Taking Vitamin B3 If You Are High Risk for Skin Cancer

If you are at high risk of developing skin cancer — or in treatment — should you take Vitamin B3?

If you have been diagnosed with sunspots (solar keratoses) or other forms of skin cancer, consult your dermatologist.

For individuals not at risk, the recommended dosage of Vitamin B3 is 500mg, twice a day — along with daily sunscreen application and avoiding prolonged sun exposure. This recommendation will allow cells damaged due to UV exposure to rebuild.

Because Vitamin B3 in nicotinamide form reduces inflammation, it may prevent the development of cancer cells but will not cure cancer.

It is also important to remember that Vitamin B3 supplements should be taken regularly. Your body will not be able to store it.

Our own Dr. Alison Calkins was recently interviewed about her research on Vitamin B3 and cancer. Learn more about this from her media interview here:

Tampa Bay doctor recommends vitamin B3 to help prevent non-melanoma skin cancers

More than a thousand men and women diagnosed with cancer each year turn to our trusted team of cancer specialists. We encourage you to call us, ask us a question or consult with us to get a second opinion so you, too, can experience the difference.