High Vitamin A in Diet Reduces the Risk of Skin Cancer: American Study

Now a day’s cancer is most dangerous disease among the people. Rate of increasing cancer patients is very high, According to the WHO Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally, and is responsible for an estimated 9.6 million deaths in 2018. Globally, about 1 in 6 deaths is due to cancer. Around one third of deaths from cancer are due to the 5 leading behavioural and dietary risks: high body mass index, low fruit and vegetable intake, lack of physical activity, tobacco use, and alcohol use. The most common cancers  with 2018 data are:

Lung (2.09 million cases), Breast (2.09 million cases), Prostate (1.28 million cases), Skin cancer (non-melanoma) (1.04 million cases)  and Stomach (1.03 million cases)

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association of Dermatology says that if intake of Vitamin A in diet is more than it can reduce the chances of skin cancer. This study provides another reason to eat lots of fruits and vegetables as part of a healthy diet. Skin cancer, including squamous cell carcinoma is hard to prevent, but this study suggests that eating a healthy diet rich in Vitamin A, in addition to wearing sunscreen and reducing sun exposure, may be a way to reduce the risk," said Eunyoung Cho, Associate Professor at the Brown University.

Increased vitamin A from foods especially was linked to lower rates of a malignant skin cancer in the more than 100,000 people as per study.

This new study found that vitamin A intake was associated with a reduced risk of developing cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma, or SCC, a type of malignant skin cancer, Researchers have conducted the study on more than 120000 Americans including both men and women in two large long term observational studies: Nurses Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. SCC is more common in fair-skinned individuals and often affects people in areas where sun exposure is common.

Participant's hair colour, the number of severe sunburns they had received in their lifetime and any family history of skin cancer were also taken into account.

Why vitamin A is so important

Vitamin A is linked to other various health benefits which include aiding in immune, bone, vision growth and reproductive health as well as protection from UV rays.

In addition to helping with skin protection, vitamin A is critical to eye health. It aids in prevention of night blindness and reduces the risk for macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness. The fat-soluble vitamin can act as a powerful antioxidant that protects the body from free radicals, a risk factor for premature aging and chronic disease.

Several previous studies have shown that vitamin A can help in the prevention of other cancers, as well. Researchers believe the benefit may come from the how vitamin A works on a cellular level.

Foods that are vitamin A powerhouse

Vitamin A sources include both Plant based foods and animal based foods. This study showed that plant-based vitamin A appeared more effective than sources derived from animals.

Plant-based foods that include vitamin A are carotenoids -- a form of provitamin A. These carotenoids can be converted into retinol, as well as, other active forms of the vitamin which the body then absorbs. Beta carotene is a common and beneficial source of carotenoids because of its ability to be converted into more active forms of vitamin A.

Beta carotene is found in orange-hued foods such as pumpkin, carrots and sweet potatoes. The deeper the hue, the more carotenoids in that food.

Here's a few easy ways to add more vitamin A:
  • Add carrots or peppers to a salad, or canned pumpkin to soups and sauces can significantly increase the vitamin A in the dish.
  • Try swapping white potatoes for sweet potatoes, or choosing cantaloupes or mango for a dessert. Leafy greens like spinach and kale also have large amounts of vitamin A.
  • Eat these meat and milk-based proteins: liver, eggs, beef, whole milk and cheese.

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