A 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. HealthCentral.co 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: HealthCentral.com)
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