Vitamin D Supplementation Linked to Fewer Cases of Melanoma

In the geographical region of a recent study, data showed melanoma cause high mortality rates in relation to incidence.

Individuals who are regular users of vitamin D supplements had a reduced risk of melanoma by more than 50% compared to non-users of vitamin D, according to researchers who conducted a study at the University of Eastern Finland and published the results in the journal Melanoma Research. Further, regular supplementation with vitamin D was found to potentially be linked to less aggressive melanoma and a considerably lower risk of skin cancer.

“For this reason too, it is worth paying attention to sufficient intake of vitamin D in the population in this region," said Ilkka Harvima, a professor of Dermatology and Allergology at the University of Eastern Finland, in the press release.

There are extensive studies on the link between vitamin D and skin cancers. Primarily these studies look at calcidiol, a metabolite of vitamin D. According to prior research assessing the role of clacidiol in melanoma, calcidiol serum levels were found to be associated with skin cancer risk.

A person’s skin can express enzymes that can biologically activate or inactive vitamin D metabolites—but unfortunately, serum calcidiol levels cannot provide information about how this vitamin D is metabolized. This means that collecting calcidiol serum levels cannot fully and accurately indicate whether a person is at increased risk of skin cancer. In fact, serum levels can sometimes be associated with a slightly lower risk of getting different types of skin cancer.

At the University of Eastern Finland in the North Savo Skin Cancer Programme, investigators looked to better understand the connection between vitamin D and skin cancer. To accomplish this, they both assessed calcidiol serum levels in study participants and collected data on corresponding cases of melanoma and the amount of vitamin D supplementation that was taken among those participants.

The researchers included 498 adult patients in the trial who were recruited by a dermatological outpatient clinic at a Finnish hospital. These patients were at an increased risk of skin cancers such as basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, or melanoma.

Dermatologists at the university looked at a patient’s level of risk (low, moderate, high), background, and divided them into 3 groups based on the consistency that a patient self-reported for taking oral vitamin D supplementation—groups were called non-users, occasional users, and high users.

Serum calcidiol levels were measured in 50% of all participants, and researchers observed that users with regular vitamin D supplementation had fewer cases of melanoma than non-users. Additionally, skin cancer risk classification was considerably better for the regular users.

There was no statistically significant association between vitamin D consumption and severity of conditions, including photoaging or basal cell carcinoma, and serum calcidiol levels were also not significantly associated with worsening skin changes.

"Earlier studies back our new findings from the North Savo region here in Finland,” Harvima said in the press release. “However, the question about the optimal dose of oral vitamin D in order for it to have beneficial effects remains to be answered. Until we know more, national intake recommendations should be followed.”

Reference

University of Eastern Finland. Fewer cases of melanoma among people taking vitamin D supplements. Science Daily. News Release. January 9, 2023. Accessed on January 10, 2023. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2023/01/230109112555.htm

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