Antioxidant Supplements Not Linked to Increased Risk of Melanoma

j0321064A recent report in the August issue of the Archives of Dermatology indicates that antioxidant supplements do not appear to be associated with an increased risk of melanoma, the deadliest of all skin cancers. Several randomized trials have been conducted to determine if daily supplementation with vitamin C and E, selenium, zinc and beta carotene are linked to an increased risk of melanoma, and some tests showed that certain supplements could increase the risk of skin cancer in women.

69,671 women and men have participated in the Vitamins and Lifestyle (VITAL) study overseen by Maryam M. Asgari, M.D., M.P.H., and colleagues of Kaiser Permanente Northern California, Oakland, and the study lasted for two years. This program asked participants to complete a 24-[age questionnaire about their lifestyle including their diet, any supplements they have been taking, their health history, and any other factors that may contribute to increased cancer risk.

Researchers found that there is in fact no link between increased melanoma risk and supplementation of beta carotene, selenium, vitamin E and other antioxidant supplements that had been previously reported as playing a role in the development of skin cancer. Another study shows that there is no association between taking vitamins A and C. reports that taking antioxidant supplements before prolonged sun exposure may in fact reduce oxidative damage, and may reduce the effects of sun damage on moles that might otherwise be receptive to cancerous changes. (Source:

An estimated 48 to 55 percent of adults in the United States take vitamin and mineral supplements regularly, so any reports of potential negative effects or an increased risk of certain cancers raises several questions.

For now at least, there is documented proof that antioxidant supplements are not linked to an increased risk of skin cancers such as melanoma. Still, more studies by dermatologists and researchers are underway.

Source: Archives of Dermatology

Further Reading

  • If you’re one of the many people who head to the beach with plenty of sunscreen and a beach umbrella, you may still need to take extra steps to ward off harmful UV rays. According to a recent study published in the Photochemistry and Photobiology journals, beach umbrellas block out only about 70 percent of UV rays.

  • Mohs surgery has been proven effective for reducing facial scarring after skin cancer surgery, and is quickly becoming the preferred surgery of choice at several cosmetic surgery and dermatology offices around the United States.

  • A new study carried out by the Institute of Cancer Research and published in the Cancer Research journal shows that a genetic mutation found in some forms of malignant melanoma can initiate the development of the deadliest form of skin cancer. The KRAS gene is mutated in approximately two per cent of malignant melanomas, and is the study is the first of its kind to show that damage to this gene can be the first in a process of events that trigger malignant melanoma.