Vitamin D and Calcium May Reduce Skin Cancer Risk
According to Stanford researchers, taking vitamin D and calcium supplements was associated with a 50% reduction in the risk of developing melanoma in women with a history of skin cancer.
The findings were published in the Journal of Oncology on June 27, 2011.
The researchers analyzed data from the Women's Health Initiative, a randomized clinical trial involving 36,282 postmenopausal women who received either placebo or 400 international units of vitamin D and 1,000 milligrams of calcium carbonate per day.
This study looked specifically at women who had previously been diagnosed with the more common non-melanoma skin cancers, such as basal cell or squamous cell cancers. A non-melanoma skin cancer patient is more likely to develop melanoma, which can be fatal.
After seven years, the group receiving the vitamin D and calcium supplement showed a 50% reduction in melanomas when compared to the placebo group.
One downfall of the study was that the placebo group was also allowed to take vitamin D, which may have hidden some of the positive benefits of the supplement.
Links between vitamin D and skin cancer prevention have existed since the 1940s, but this study suggested a potential supporting role of the mineral calcium.
Vitamin D and calcium are known to be imperative for bone health, this study suggests they may protect the skin also.
Calcium has been shown to aid bone health, help with weight loss, and reducing the risk of ccolorectal cancer and stroke. Some studies have even suggested that calcium intake is associated with longevity.
Calcium absorption decreases as we age, so it is especially important to make sure you are getting enough of it in your diet or through a high quality supplement.