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Can Vitamin A Help Lower the Risk of Skin Cancer?

Vitamin A is known to maintain good health, but does it also reduce skin cancer risk? According to a new study, there’s a link between the intake of vitamin A and a lower skin cancer risk.

Sources of Vitamin A

Vitamin A can be found in animal products as well as fruits and vegetables including:

  • Turkey
  • Chicken
  • Eggs
  • Beef liver
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Kale
  • Carrots
  • Pumpkin
  • Papaya
  • Broccoli
  • Butternut squash
  • Apricots

The Study

In a recent study, led by Dr. Jongwoo Kim, researchers tried to establish a possible connection between vitamin A intake and a reduced risk of squamous cell carcinoma. The researchers analyzed data from 48,400 men and 75,170 women of mean age 54.3 years and 50.4 years respectively.

After following up the participants for over 26 years, the researchers managed to document 3,978 skin cancer cases in the two study groups. The participants filled out detailed surveys every four years. The researchers used the surveys to collect information about the intake of vitamin A.

After analyzing the results, the researchers unveiled that the participants with the highest vitamin A intake had a reduced risk of squamous cell carcinoma. The study revealed that a higher percentage of vitamin A was from food, particularly vegetables as opposed to dietary supplements.

Limitations and Conclusions of the Study

While the researchers affirm that their findings marked a good start to help establish a connection between diet and skin cancer risk, they also state that their study had some limitations.

Specifically, the authors point out the homogeneity of the study participants, which exclusively comprised of educated whites working as healthcare professionals. Thus, for a more inclusive research with generalizable findings, it’s worth focusing on a more diverse population.

However, the authors are quick to note that there was good variation of vitamin A intake. They also state that they targeted a suitable study population because skin cancer is uncommon among nonwhites.

Regardless of the possible drawbacks in the methodology used in this study, the authors firmly conclude that their results support the idea that an adequate vitamin A intake could help individuals prevent skin cancer development.

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