Research emanating from Sydney, Australia reports the use of a form of Vitamin B3 (Niacin) to prevent skin cancers. With the pharmacy name Nicotinamide, it is the “amide” form of the vitamin and as such, doesn’t cause the unpleasant side effects of niacin. These include flushing, itching, headache and changes in blood pressure.
Nicotinamide has been used for its anti-inflammatory properties in some other types of skin conditions such as eczema and pemphigus. It seems to work in preventing skin cancers and pre-cancers because it is an essential co-factor for producing adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Ultra-violet radiation depletes ATP in the skin, which is essential for repairing sun-damaged DNA. If DNA is not repaired, the cells go astray and become cancerous.
Patients in the Australian study had a 23-to-30 percent reduction of skin cancers as compared to the placebo group. Also, there was a 20 percent reduction in actinic keratosis (pre-skin cancer lesions) in the Nicotinamide group as compared to the placebo group.