Skip to main content

Vitamin D supplement found to lower risk of melanoma, new study finds


Melanoma is one of the few cancers on the rise in cases in Canada, and now a new study has found one way to potentially lower the risk of getting the life-threatening disease.

New research conducted by dermatologists at the University of Eastern Finland in collaboration with Kuopio University Hospital in Finland found that people who regularly take vitamin D supplementation are at a lower risk for melanoma, as opposed to those who do not take the supplement.

Melanoma is a potentially deadly form of skin cancer and it was estimated 9,000 Canadians were diagnosed with the illness in 2022, according to the Canadian Cancer Society.

While vitamin D is known to be naturally manufactured through the skin by the sun, the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention, a U.S.-based organization, advises that adults and children should avoid intentional exposure to the harmful UV radiation of sun rays, which are known to cause skin cancers, and instead use diet and supplementation to get adequate levels of the fat-soluble vitamin. 

In the study, dermatologists discovered the power of the supplementation by analyzing the background information and medical history of 498 recruited adults who were at risk for any kind of skin cancer, as well as performed an examination of their skin. 

Based on this, the patients were classified into varying levels of skin cancer risk categories starting at low, moving to moderate risk, and up to high risk.

Examples of skin cancers the patients were at risk for included basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, or melanoma, which is one of the most common cancer types found in young Canadian adults aged 15 to to 49.

Patients were also split into three categories based on their consumption of oral vitamin D supplements: non-users, occasional users, and regular users.

What the researchers found was that those who fell into the regular consumption category had considerably less cases of melanoma, compared to those who did not take vitamin D.

They also found that the severity of skin cancer was considerably better for those supplementing the sunshine vitamin, compared to non-users, and that the risk for melanoma among regular users was decreased by more than half compared to non-users of the supplement.

One of the study researchers, Ilkka Harvima, a professor of Dermatology and Allergology of the University of Eastern Finland, said the press release for the study that it is still unknown what the optimal dosage of oral vitamin D is for the best benefits.

For Canadians, public health guidelines recommend that children and adults ages nine to 70 take 600 IU (15 mcg) of vitamin D per day, with the highest intake level tolerated being 4000 IU (100 mcg) daily.

The fat-soluble vitamin is also known to help the body absorb and retain calcium and phosphorus which are critical to strong healthy bones, as well as offer other health benefits known such as reducing cancer cell growth, control infections, and reduce inflammation. Top Stories

Local Spotlight