Benefits of Calcium and Vitamin D

Skin cancer can be prevented by taking calcium and vitamin D supplements

(RxWiki News) Calcium and vitamin D are essential nutrients for bone health, but researchers have now found another plus for this duo. The combination of calcium and vitamin D may reduce the risk of skin cancer.

Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer and the most common cause of death from skin cancers. Non-melanoma skin cancers are the most common forms of skin cancer which include basal cell and squamous cell cancers. Researchers have found that calcium and vitamin D may provide benefits for women who once had non-melanoma skin cancer.

"Take calcium and vitamin D if you're at risk of getting melanoma."

Jean Tang, M.D., Ph.D., dermatologist from Stanford University School of Medicine, found that participants who took a supplement with calcium and vitamin D developed 57 percent fewer melanomas (skin tumors) than other women with the same condition who were not given supplements.

Dr. Tang suggests that women who previously had non-melanoma skin cancer take calcium and vitamin D supplements because they could reduce their risk for developing the deadlier melanoma. The results were not the same for women who didn’t have a risk for melanoma.

A daily dose of 1,000 mg of calcium and 400 IU of vitamin D showed the best results. More research is being done to determine if larger doses of vitamin D can have benefits in skin cancer, according to Dr. Tang.

The researchers analyzed data from the Women’s Health Initiative which included 36,000 women between the ages of 50 to 79. Half of the women took a supplement and the other half took a placebo.

The research is published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Review Date: 
June 29, 2011