Sydney, Nov 19 : Vitamin B3, which is found in meats, nuts, grains and cereals, can be more effective than sunscreen in providing protection against skin cancer, a new study has found.
According to associate professor Diona Damian of the University of Sydney, nicotinamide, or vitamin B3, prevents damage from both UVA and UVB radiation by protecting the immune system, and could be taken in tablet form or added to sunscreen.
Sunscreens provide good protection against UVB rays, which cause sunburn and skin cancer, however, the products are less effective in protecting against UVA, which can also cause skin cancer, the researcher said.
"UV radiation in sunlight suppresses the skin's immune system and makes it more susceptible to skin cancer. Our research found that nicotinamide [vitamin B3] can prevent the immunosuppressive effects of UV by energising cells so they maintain their immunity," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted the expert, as saying.
Professor Damian said tests using the water-soluble vitamin offered equally strong protection against both UVA and UVB in both lotion and tablet form.
"Nicotinamide is well tolerated, so could also be taken orally as a supplement, particularly by people who have a higher susceptibility to skin cancer," she said.