Life Extension Magazine®

Doctor inspecting patients skin for melanoma

As We See It: Supplemental Vitamin D Associated with Reduced Melanoma Risk

A recent study found a 55% lower melanoma risk in regular users of vitamin D supplements compared to non-users. Life Extension® advocates for clinical trials to validate this exciting finding

By William Faloon.

William Faloon
William Faloon

Melanoma is a skin cancer that has a high cure rate when detected early.1

Metastatic disease occurs when melanoma cells spread to other organs. Metastatic melanoma patients suffer high fatality rates.1,2

Incidence of melanoma is increasing, whereas death rates are declining because of earlier detection and improved treatments.1

Groups most at risk for melanoma are non-Hispanic white men and women.1 The chart on the next page shows melanoma cases increase from ages 55 to 74, though it can develop at any age.1

Annual screening by a dermatologist is the best way to discover melanoma at an early stage before it spreads. We believe those at higher risk should be screened every six months.

When melanoma is found, the patient is referred to a surgeon who may perform a procedure (Mohs surgery) whereby thin layers of the malignant lesion and surrounding areas are slowly sliced off until no more cancer cells are detected.3

A recent study looked at the correlation between vitamin D supplementation and the risk of skin cancer in 500 adults from ages 21 to 79. Results showed a 55% reduction in the odds of past or present melanoma associated with regularusers of vitamin D supplements compared to non-users.4

Based on these findings, regular vitamin D supplementation is associated with about half the odds of melanoma, which suggests another benefit
correlated with this widely used supplement.

The American Cancer Society predicts 97,600 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in 2023 with about 7,990 deaths.5

Incidence of malignant melanoma is steadily increasing worldwide.5,6

The primary causes are interactions between individual genetic factors and environmental risks such as sun exposure.4

Metastatic disease occurs when melanoma cells spread to other organs through the lymphatic system, circulating blood, and direct invasion of surrounding tissues.2

Ultraviolet radiation from the sun is the most important environmental risk factor for the development of skin cancers, including melanoma.7-10 The use of tanning beds prematurely ages the skin and also increases risk for skin cancers.11

Protection against ultraviolet radiation has long been recognized as an important measure to prevent skin cancersand delay skin aging.

A Personal Note…

In 1968, at age 13, I stood over the open coffin of my grandmother who suffered a horrific lingering melanoma death at age 54.

She had a suspicious lesion on her leg for years before developing metastatic disease symptoms.

Hundreds of people attended her funeral. Some understood that had she had the suspicious lesion surgically removed years before, she would still be alive.

This needless death instilled in me an overwhelming need to share information I come across with others (as others have shared with me) that may save human life.

I’ve had suspicious lesions removed over the decades. Yet I was surprised when three years slipped by between dermatology screenings. Fortunately, no lesions were detected, but it was a wake-up call to not overlook annual head-to-toe dermatology screenings.

Vitamin D and Melanoma

Previously published data suggest that vitamin Dcould play a role in cancer prevention by exerting anti-proliferative cellular effects.

A recent study found considerably fewer cases (55% reduced odds) of melanoma associated withregularusers of vitamin D supplements compared to non-users.4

We advocate for randomized controlled clinical trials to corroborate these findings.

While most people associate summer outdoor activities with excessive sun exposure, the reality is that consistent everyday solar radiation exposure inflicts significant cumulative damage to exposed skin.7,12

The article on page 38 of this month’s issue describes nutrients that help protect skin against solar radiation damage.

For longer life,

For Longer Life

William Faloon

Life Extension®


  1. Available at: Accessed April 4, 2023.
  2. Sandru A, Voinea S, Panaitescu E, et al. Survival rates of patients with metastatic malignant melanoma. J Med Life.2014Oct-Dec;7(4):572-6.
  3. Etzkorn JR, Alam M. What Is Mohs Surgery? JAMA Dermatology.2020;156(6):716.
  4. Kanasuo E, Siiskonen H, Haimakainen S, et al. Regular use of vitamin D supplement is associated with fewer melanoma cases compared to non-use: a cross-sectional study in 498 adult subjects at risk of skin cancers. Melanoma Res. 2023Apr 1;33(2):126-35.
  5. Available at: Accessed March, 31, 2023.
  6. Saginala K, Barsouk A, Aluru JS, et al. Epidemiology of Melanoma. Med Sci (Basel). 2021Oct 20;9(4).
  7. Kim Y, He YY. Ultraviolet radiation-induced non-melanoma skin cancer: Regulation of DNA damage repair and inflammation. Genes Dis.2014Dec 1;1(2):188-98.
  8. Sinikumpu SP, Jokelainen J, Keinanen-Kiukaanniemi S, et al. Skin cancers and their risk factors in older persons: a population-based study. BMC Geriatr. 2022Apr 1;22(1):269.
  9. Tatalovich Z, Wilson JP, Mack T, et al. The objective assessment of lifetime cumulative ultraviolet exposure for determining melanoma risk. J Photochem Photobiol B.2006Dec 1;85(3):198-204.
  10. Matthews NH, Li WQ, Qureshi AA, et al. Epidemiology of Melanoma. In: Ward WH, Farma JM, editors. Cutaneous Melanoma: Etiology and Therapy. Brisbane (AU): Codon Publications. The Authors.; 2017.
  11. Zhang M, Qureshi AA, Geller AC, et al. Use of tanning beds and incidence of skin cancer. J Clin Oncol.2012May 10;30(14):1588-93.
  12. Wu YP, Parsons B, Jo Y, et al. Outdoor activities and sunburn among urban and rural families in a Western region of the US: Implications for skin cancer prevention. Prev Med Rep.2022Oct;29:101914.