Science 3 min read

Vitamin A Linked to Lower Risk of Common Skin Cancer

Evan Lorne /

Evan Lorne /

Ever considered adding another layer of sunscreen to help with skin cancer? While that’s not entirely a bad idea, getting more Vitamin A could also help.

In a study of about 125,000 Americans, researchers found that people with the highest Vitamin A intake has a 15 percent lower risk of squamous cell skin cancer. What’s more, most of the Vitamin A they consumed came from foods.

In a statement to the press, the study’s senior author and associate professor of dermatology and epidemiology at Brown University, Eunyoung Cho, said:

“These findings just add another reason to have a healthy diet with fruits and vegetables. Vitamin A from plant sources is safe.”

These plant food sources include broccoli, carrots, black-eyed peas, sweet potato, cantaloupe, and sweet red peppers. Other healthy animal sources, according to the U.S. National Institute of Health (NIH), include fish, meat, and dairy foods.

How Vitamin A Lowers the Risk of Common Cancer

For their research, the researchers used the data of over 75,000 women from a Nurses Health Study and almost 50,000 men in a Health Professionals Follow-up Study. The participants, whose average age was in the early 50s, had to provide information about their average diet, including the supplements they use.

The researcher noted that people with a higher level of Vitamin A were not only older, but they also exercised more and were less likely to consume caffeine or alcohol. Also, the female participants with a high level of Vitamin A were more likely to use postmenopausal hormones.

During the follow-up study that occurred more than 25 years later, the researchers noted that nearly 4,000 people had squamous cell skin cancer.

Findings show that increasing the use of Vitamin A supplements lowers the risk of skin cancer. Also, it seemed to provide adequate protection for people with numerous moles and those with blistering sunburn in their early years.

Cho explained that the team’s goal was not to establish a cause-and-effect link between vitamin A and skin cancer. However, she did admit that the vitamin maintains healthy skin cells, linking it to lower risks of squamous cancer cells.

Read More: Researchers Reactivate T Cells To Help Fight Cancer

With that said, you still need sunscreen when you’re outdoors – even if you’re on a broccoli and carrots diet. A spokesperson for Skin Cancer Research Foundation, Dr. Desiree Ratner agreed that sun protection measures are still necessary to keep your skin healthy.

In a statement the New York City dermatologist said:

“While this study seems promising, it should not change any current sun protection behaviors or recommendations. The group involved in this study did show a slight decrease in squamous cell carcinoma incidence, and it was only after each study participant ingested vitamin A in excess.”

Meaning, the best protection against skin cancer remains a complete sun protection strategy. These include wearing protective clothing, shades, and applying sunscreen every day.

Read More: New Study Suggests That Common Multivitamins Have no Health Benefits

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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