Washington - Regular Vitamin A supplements can protect against melanoma skin cancer due to the presence of retinol, a new study has claimed.
Retinol penetrates the outer layers of the skin and repairs damage to the lower layers, where collagen and elastin are found.
Acid found in retinol, encourages skin cells to function normally and increases regular cell renewal. It is also widely praised for its anti-ageing properties.
Researchers from Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research analysed the skin cancer risk in 69,635 men and women aged between 50 and 76 who took a daily vitamin A supplement, either through a pill form or as food supplements.
They discovered that those who took the supplements, in particular retinol, were 60 per cent less likely to develop melanoma skin cancer, the deadliest form, than those who took no supplements. Participants who took higher doses of more than 1,200mg a day, increased their prevention against the cancer by 74 per cent.
Interestingly, researchers found no link between foods containing vitamin A (like eggs, liver and milk) and a reduced risk of skin cancer, as well as another powerful compound that the body turns into vitamin A (carotenoids).
They found that vitamin A retinol supplements had the biggest impact on women.
âOur data suggests a possible interaction between supplemental retinol use and the anatomic site of melanoma, with sun-exposed sites showing a stronger protective effect than sun-protected sites,â the Daily Mail quoted Dr Maryam Asgari, a dermatologist from the study, as saying.
However, a leading cancer charity has warned people against bulk buying retinol supplements.
âWe donât recommend people start taking retinol supplements based on this study, particularly as high doses can be toxic,â the Huffington Post quoted Claire Knight, senior health information officer at Cancer Research UK, as saying.
âThe result was based on a very small number of people with melanoma, and the authors didnât account for other important factors that influence the risk of skin cancer, such as the number of moles a person has.
"And crucially, when the authors looked at whether a particular dose was linked to risk, the link between retinol and melanoma disappeared.
âThe good news is that you can reduce the risk of skin cancer by enjoying the sun safely - use shade, clothing and at least SPF 15 sunscreen to help protect your skin from sunburn.â