Women who took vitamin D and calcium together were able to reduce by half their risk of developing melanoma, according to a study published by in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
The scientists followed the history of women with either a squamous or basal cell skin cancer, because oncologists believe that those having these common forms of cancer are more likely to develop melanoma. The researchers found that women who took the calcium and vitamin D combination developed 57 percent fewer melanomas than women with similar histories who were not given the supplements.
Data was analyzed from the Women’s Health Initiative; a large study that followed 36,000 women ages 50 to 79 for seven years. Half of these women took calcium and vitamin D and the other half took a placebo.
Vitamin D is well-known for its positive effects on bone health, but it also provides the body with many other benefits. It influences how rapidly cells replicate, a process that can often go awry in cancer. Studies over the past few years have suggested that vitamin D is associated with lower risks of many types of cancer, including colon, breast, and prostate cancers.
The results of this research are prompting scientists to perform more studies. They are planning to look at the possible relationship between vitamin D and cancer prevention, including a study that will evaluate blood levels of vitamin D with melanoma outcomes. They’ve already observed an association between higher serum vitamin D levels and thinner melanoma and lower death rates in humans.
For those who have a history of squamous or basal cell skin cancer, calcium and vitamin D would be a good combination to add to one’s vitamin regimen.