A form of vitamin B3 could protect skin cells from the effects of ultraviolet (UV) ray exposure, which is the main risk factor for non-melanoma skin cancers, according to research presented at EADV’s 29th Congress.

The researchers isolated human primary keratinocytes from the skin of patients with non-melanoma skin cancers. These cells were then treated with 3 different concentrations of nicotinamide (NAM), a form of vitamin B3, for 18, 24, and 48 hours, and then exposed to UVB.

The results showed that pre-treatment with 25μM of nicotinamide (NAM) 24 hours before UV irradiation protected the skin cells from the effects of UV-induced oxidative stress, including DNA damage. NAM enhanced DNA repair, demonstrated by decreased expression of the DNA repair enzyme OGG1.

Further, it decreased antioxidant expression and blocked local inflammation by showing decreased nitric oxide release and reactive oxygen species production, as well as reduced iNOS protein expression.

"Our study indicates that increasing the consumption of vitamin B3, which is readily available in the daily diet, will protect the skin from some of the effects of UV exposure, potentially reducing the incidence of non-melanoma skin cancers,” said research student Lara Camillo, in a press release. “However, the protective effect of vitamin B3 is short-acting, so it should be consumed no later than 24 to 48 hours before sun exposure."

Vitamin B3 protects skin cells from the effects of UV exposure, new research finds. EurekAlert! https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-10/sc-vbp103020.php. Published October 31, 2020. Accessed November 2, 2020.