The benefits of niacinamide for reducing skin cancer risk

Its time to think about protecting yourself from the sun. The humble vitamin B3, in the form of niacinamide may also be helpful.

Recently, customers started coming in the shop and asking for Niacinamide, generally because they had been referred by their dermatologist. After asking why, I took a few moments to do some reading & found some really interesting research relating to skin cancer. Niacinamide can help reduce the risk of certain skin cancers.

The role of Niacinamide in skin cancer risk reduction

What is Niacinamide?

Niacinamide is a form of Vitamin B3. Vitamin B3 is normally sold as Niacin. However, this powerful B vitamin comes in a number of forms, each of which has its own benefits. Commonly Niacin and will be used for cardiovascular, hormone or energy issues. In the form of Niacinamide, which also known somewhat confusingly known by the name Nicotinamide, there have been some key studies regarding reduction of skin cancer risk, for those who have had previous issues.

Taking 500mg of Niacinamide, twice daily reduced the risk of repeated basal cell carcinoma skin cancers by 23%

Now Niacinamide

How does Niacinamide help skin cancers?

As reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, a double blind placebo controlled trial was done on 386 patients who had previously had non-melanoma skin cancers in the past five years, including the most common form for New Zealanders, basal cell carcinoma. The 12 month trial had participants taking 500mg of Nicatonamide (Niacinamide) twice daily. The results at 12 months showed a reduction of recurring skin carcinomas, of between 20 & 30%, depending on the type of skin cancer, in the group taking the Nicatonamide, versus the control. This difference was statistically significant in each of the studied carcinoma groups. This benefit did not continue once the participants stopped taking the vitamin.

Read the full study here

The takeaway

If you are susceptible to skin cancers, one of the reasons they occur is due to sun damage, which is where the niacinamide has the potential to help. Its antioxidant effects reduce the harm the suns damaging rays. Both covering up and applying sunscreen, of which there are effective natural varieties like Oasis, are useful. If you desire the sun tanned look, then there are natural products such as Ecotan that will make you look sun kissed. Astaxanthin also has sun protective effects and is found in supplemental form, from in store Lifestream. Very importantly, look after your body in terms of healthy foods, sensible exercise and overall healthy living, which all have benefits in reducing risk of comorbidity.


New England Journal of Medicine. 2015. A Phase 3 Randomized Trial of Nicotinamide for Skin-Cancer Chemoprevention. Andrew C. Chen, M.B., B.S., Andrew J. Martin, Ph.D., Bonita Choy, M.Med., Pablo Fernández-Peñas, Ph.D., Robyn A. Dalziell, Ph.D., Catriona A. McKenzie, M.B., B.S., Richard A. Scolyer, M.D., Haryana M. Dhillon, Ph.D., Janette L. Vardy, M.D., Anne Kricker, Ph.D., Gayathri St. George, M.Sc.Med., Niranthari Chinniah, M.B., B.S., et al. N Engl J Med 2015; 373:1618-1626
DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1506197

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