Pop This Supplement for Your Skin
You slather on sunscreen, limit sun time, and keep an eye on those moles. But here's one more thing you could do to prevent skin cancer: pop a calcium and vitamin D supplement.
In a large 7-year study of women who'd previously had skin cancer, those who took a calcium and vitamin D supplement every day experienced 57 percent fewer melanomas compared with the women who didn't take the supplement.
How D Controls Cells
More research is needed to confirm the results of this early study. And researchers are not yet sure whether a calcium and vitamin D supplement could play a role in helping prevent melanoma in people who've never had the disease. But plenty of other research has shown that vitamin D -- which helps control how quickly cells replicate -- has the potential to keep the growth of many different types of cancer cells in check, including colon, breast, and prostate cancer cells. And if you've had another form of skin cancer, you're at higher risk of developing melanoma -- the deadliest kind -- later in life. So popping a supplement -- in addition to living a sun-smart lifestyle -- may be an easy extra thing to do. (Wondering whether you're getting enough vitamin D? Read this to find out.)
Getting What You Need
Regardless of the recent skin cancer research, our bodies need calcium and vitamin D for multiple other reasons -- including bone and heart health. And most people don't get enough of it. So a daily supplement is a great way to stay on track. And here are two more ways to get a little extra calcium and vitamin D into your day:
- Break it up. Your body can absorb only so much calcium at once, so divide the RealAge recommended dose (1,000–1,500 milligrams a day) into two or three doses. (Find good food sources of calcium here.)
- Lose weight. A recent study found that women who lost 15 percent of their body weight could triple the vitamin D levels in their body. (Find good food sources of vitamin D here.)