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Not All Vitamin B3 is Good For Skin Cancer Prevention

By , On , In Skin Cancer

At Kelowna Skin Cancer Clinic, we preach that knowledge is the best way to approach treating any disease. We encourage our patients to ask questions and take an active role in their treatment. From understanding simple preventative methods to deeper research, we hope our patients take measures to thoroughly understand prevention and treatment.

We are well aware that on top of the emotional and practical concerns that come with any sort of treatment, there can be an overwhelming amount of information. A lot of it coming from us, your doctors. When a topic is new for a patient, the variations in words, phrasing and terminology can make things confusing.

Niacin vs. Niacinamide for skin cancer prevention

A pair of preventative measures that can be confusing at times are Niacinamide, and its precursor Niacin (or Nicotinic Acid). Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3 that is often prescribed as an oral preventative for diseases like squamous cell carcinomas. Essentially, Niacin enters the body easily through common water-soluble B vitamins, or even dietary sources (like that delicious Thanksgiving turkey or a plate of wild caught salmon). Niacin helps turn the food we eat into energy. The body then converts that Niacin into Niacinamide. This can be confusing at times as one is often mistaken for the other.

Recent studies have shown that only Niacinamide therapy has been successful in the prevention of Non-Melanoma Skin Cancers (NMSC), while with Niacin unfortunately has not. Niacin is more commonly associated as treatment for other diseases — like high cholesterol. Niacinamide also comes with less side effects than its precursor (Niacin) as well.

As we outlined recently, the results speak for themselves. In a 2015 study led by the New England Journal of Medicine, high-dosage Niacinamide treatment administered to patients who had at least two NMSC experiences reduced basal cell carcinomas by 20%, squamous cell carcinomas by 30%, and actinic keratoses by 13%.

Still have questions?

With our forward-thinking team at Kelowna Skin Cancer Clinic, we always want to ensure our patients that we’re following the best practices, but we also want to demonstrate that one of our top priorities is to educate. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’d love to hear from you.