01 Aug Could Vitamin A Help Prevent Skin Cancer?
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Eunyoung Cho, Sc.D.
Director of Research, Department of Dermatology
The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University
Associate Professor, Department of Epidemiology
Brown School of Public Health
Channing Division of Network Medicine
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is a common skin cancer in people with fair skin. Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in many foods such as green leafy vegetables, fruits including cantaloupe, apricots, and mangos, and dairy products. We studied whether vitamin A intake is beneficial against SCC risk because there are few ways to prevent skin cancer.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: We found that higher vitamin A intake was associated with a reduction in cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma risk. Higher vitamin A was associated with a maximum of 17% reduction in SCC risk. Vitamin A come from both animal- and plant- based foods. We found that vitamin A from both animal and plant based sources were associated with reduced risk of SCC. We also found that some carotenoids which do not convert to vitamin A (such as lycopene and lutein and zeaxanthin) were associated with reduced risk of SCC.
MedicalResearch.com: How do you modulate vitamin A supplementation to prevent side effects such as hepatotoxicity?
Response: The populations we studied was well-nourished with vitamin A. Interestingly, most of the dietary vitamin A came from plant -based sources (e.g., as carotenoids from fruits and vegetables). High intake of vitamin A from plant sources is typically not related to common side effects of vitamin A.
Although high vitamin A intake may be effective in chemoprevention of skin cancer, high intake of vitamin A, especially the preformed vitamin A (from animal foods, fortified foods, and dietary supplements), may have some adverse health effects such as potentially increased risk of osteoporosis and hip fracture.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Our study found an association between increased dietary vitamin A intake and decreased risk of squamous cell carcinoma. Because vitamin A come from fruits and vegetables which have other health benefits, this may provide another reason to enjoy fruits and vegetables.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: Future studies are needed to determine whether vitamin A supplementation has a role in chemoprevention of squamous cell carcinoma.
Kim J, Park MK, Li W, Qureshi AA, Cho E. Association of Vitamin A Intake With Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma Risk in the United States. JAMA Dermatol. Published online July 31, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2019.1937
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