Vitamin linked to lower melanoma risk

We know vitamin D is important for healthy bone growth, but now research reveals it can help to reduce your risk of developing a particularly Australian cancer.

Vitamin D refers to a family of fat-soluble chemicals your body needs for healthy bones and other biological processes. It helps the body absorb calcium, magnesium and phosphate –compounds that are essential for your health.

The vast majority of vitamin D is produced in the top few layers of our skin as sunlight is synthesised. Small amounts of vitamin D are also found in some foods, such as fatty fish and egg yolks.

Vitamin D can also be obtained through dietary supplements.

Read: The truth about vitamin D supplements and bone health

Now, a team of researchers from the University of Eastern Finland has found a positive link between people who take vitamin D supplements and lower rates of melanoma – one of the most common, and deadly, cancers in Australia.

In a study, published in the journal Melanoma Research, the researchers examined 498 adults (253 men and 245 women) aged between 21 and 79.

Participants were divided into three groups based on their intake of vitamin D supplements: non-use, occasional use and regular use.

To measure vitamin D levels in the body, the researchers looked for the serum calcidol in participants’ blood. Calcidol is the ‘storage form’ of vitamin D.

Read: A daily multivitamin may slow cognitive decline

The results showed that those who took vitamin D supplements regularly had much higher levels of serum calcidol than those who did not take supplements.

They also showed that those with higher serum calcidol levels were less likely to have had melanoma and were significantly less likely to develop it.

But the researchers were quick to caution that vitamin D supplements alone were unlikely to stop you from developing melanoma completely, and that you would need to still adhere to sun safety guidelines.

Read: The vitamin that’s integral to ageing gracefully

Dr Ilkka Harvima, lead author of the study, told Medical News Today that the development should be seen as an additional protection against melanoma, and not a cure.

“Vitamin D supplementation alone is unlikely an effective medication to treat metastatic melanoma,” he said.

“This is important to note because there may be individuals in populations who might erroneously think so and then end up neglecting effective treatment.”

Do you regularly take vitamin D? Are you heartened by the study? Why not share your thoughts in the comments section below?

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