Why I take niacinamide before I go out in the sun

Young hot couple resting at swimpool.

This is how you protect yourself from skin cancer

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Why I take niacinamide before I go out in the sun

Sunlight exposure is critical for human health. The red and near-infrared rays maintain healthy hormone levels. 

On the other end of the spectrum, the UV rays catalyse the production of vitamin D.

And vitamin D is critical to heart and bone health.

Vitamin D also helps regulate our circadian rhythms. 

Disruptions of circadian rhythm are linked to heart disease, obesity, type II diabetes, and cancer. 

The circadian rhythm is controlled by light. 

Light is vital.

But overexposure to UV light can cause damage to the skin, leading to skin cancer. 

Research has shown that vitamin B3 can protect against the dangerous effects of UV.

(It’s called vitamin B3, or niacinamide, or nicotinamide…all the same thing.)

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This research was conducted at the University of Sydney in Australia. The results were published in the journal Carcinogenesis.

The study investigated the effect of vitamin B3 on skin immunity. 

Suppression of skin immunity has previously been shown to cause skin cancer.

“Numerous animal and human studies have established the central role of UV induced immune suppression in skin carcinogenesis.”

Previously, scientists discovered that the nicotinamide form of vitamin B3 can protect against UV induced immunosuppression and skin cancer. 

These experiments were done by applying B3 topically on animals.

“Nicotinamide (B3) has been shown to reduce UV induced immune suppression and carcinogenesis in mice when administered topically.”

The scientists then investigated the effect of topical nicotinamide (B3) on UV induced immune suppression in humans. 

Nicotinamide (B3) is effective in lowering the risk from UV rays when used topically.

“We have previously found topical nicotinamide to be highly effective in preventing UV-induced immunosuppression in humans.”

But topical application of nicotinamide can be tricky. 

Oral supplementation is much more convenient. 

So the scientists set out to find if an oral B3 supplement could lower UV induced immunosuppression… 

…and thereby reduce the risk of skin cancer.

61 people were enrolled in the study. 

A high dose group received 500mg of nicotinamide 3 times a day. 

A low dose group received 500mg once a day. 

These groups had almost equal numbers of men and women. 

The participants had a small area of the back exposed to a xenon arc light. 

This artificial light comes very close to simulating the amount of UV from sunlight.

Scientists used a number of previously verified tests to examine changes in skin immunity.

A placebo group which did not receive nicotinamide showed the expected immunosuppression in response to exposure to UV light.

“In the placebo group exposure to three fixed doses of UV resulted in significant immunosuppression in a dose-dependent manner.”

High doses of nicotinamide (B3) reduced immunosuppression to levels seen in people who did not have UV exposure.

“High dose B3 for 7 days significantly reduced immunosuppression.”

The lower dose supplementation reduced immunosuppression – but to a lesser degree.

Both doses of B3 reduced immunosuppression – which is a factor in developing skin cancer.

“Oral supplementation with nicotinamide 500 mg three times daily or 500 mg daily reduces UV-induced immunosuppression.”

Skin cancer is not necessarily related to sunburn as is commonly thought. 

Instead, there is a stronger relationship with immunosuppression and skin cancer. 

Both things do not necessarily occur together.

Exposure to strong UV light can trigger immunosuppression before any signs of sunburn appear.

“We found significant immunosuppression with UV doses well below that needed to cause sunburn.”

There is a positive correlation with sunscreens and skin cancer – more sunscreen use is associated with greater incidence of skin cancer.

Though there are a huge number of factors to consider when asking why this is…

…one possible answer is that sunscreens prevent sunburn, but they do not prevent immunosuppression. 

People may become more immunosuppressed when using sunscreen because they are exposed to more UV light – not because of sunburn.

“Sunscreens may prevent sunburn while allowing immunosuppression.”

You should see a healthcare professional about diagnosing and treating skin problems. 

And remember in the USA, B3 is called more commonly niacinamide, in case you want to try it yourself.

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Matt Cook is editor-in-chief of Daily Medical Discoveries. Matt has been a full time health researcher for 26 years. ABC News interviewed Matt on sexual health issues not long ago. Matt is widely quoted on over 1,000,000 websites. He has over 300,000 daily newsletter readers. Daily Medical Discoveries finds hidden, buried or ignored medical studies through the lens of 100 years of proven science. Matt heads up the editorial team of scientists and health researchers. Each discovery is based upon primary studies from peer reviewed science sources following the Daily Medical Discoveries 7 Step Process to ensure accuracy.


Oral nicotinamide protects against ultraviolet radiation-induced immunosuppression in humans