New Take on an Old Vitamin— Nicotinamide

Nicotinamide (NAM), also known as niacinamide, is a form of vitamin B. It has been around for ages but researchers are still finding new ways of how it can benefit our skin.We already know that topical nicotinamide is useful for general anti-aging of the skin as well as reducing redness and blotchiness. Now we are looking at how this vitamin can also impact our skin when taken orally.


Now new evidence according to a recent review article published in the journal Experimental Dermatology, has shown that nicotinamide offers various photoprotective and anti-inflammatory effects, with phase III evidence supporting findings that show its ability to reduce non-melanoma skin cancers and actinic keratoses in high-risk patient.

What this means is that theoretically, nicotinamide may be able to protect against UV-induced immune suppression and possibly skin cancer development. This is an important development in our fight against skin cancer worldwide. In randomized controlled clinical trials, nicotinamide has demonstrated ability to limit transepidermal water loss as well as the growth of non-melanoma skin cancer in high-risk individuals.

In addition, they found that patients with normal renal function tolerate nicotinamide well with minimal, if any, side effects, even at doses of about 1 g daily. However, diarrhea was reported among patients on hemodialysis—especially those taking phosphate binders.

In the study, Chen et al found that, after 1 year, the incidence of new non-melanoma skin cancer was reduced by 23% (P = .02) in patients who received oral nicotinamide vs placebo. Nicotinamide also reduced the number of basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas by 20% (P = .12) and 30% (P = .05), respectively.

It seems the future is bright for nicotinamide, with this paper highlighting its positive safety profile and showing evidence supporting its utility in those patients at high risk for the development of non-melanoma.

Watch this space.

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