I just read a study evaluating the use of various vitamins and supplements and likelihood of getting skin cancer (squamous cell carcinoma of the skin) and wanted to let you know the exciting news about the results. The study was performed at the Kaiser Permenente Hospitals in San Francisco (where else?)
Here’s the scientific part: four hundred fifteen patients with squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) were age-matched with an equal number without cancer. They were questioned about their use of Vitamins A, C, D, and E, and grape seed extract. Grape seed extract (not to be confused with grapefruit seed extract) contains powerful anti-oxidants including “proanthocyanidins”. These neutralize “free radicals” generated by sunlight, and help prevent sun damage to the DNA that leads to cancer.
What it means for you: The study showed that there was a significant association between use of grape seed extract and reduced development of skin cancer. Multivitamin use was associated with a borderline significant reduction in SCC’s. Vitamins A, C, E, and D were not associated with any change in likelihood of developing SCC. The only unsettling variable in the study was the increased prevalence of blond and red hair in the SCC group (unsettling because this means that people with lighter complexions seemed to have more incidence of cancer.)
Although there were some potential faults in the study design, it does point to the potential protective effects of powerful antioxidants like grape seed extract in protecting against squamous cell cancer of the skin. It does not remove the need for sun protection, but may offer protective additional protection.
Tattoos have become more popular again over the past decade, with licensed tattoo parlors taking precautions to reduce the transmission of blood-borne diseases such as hepatitis and AIDS.
Unfortunately, it appears that even with such precautions, a new bacteria in the Tuberculosis family, Mycobacterium Haemophilum, has been found in otherwise healthy people getting tattoos. It seems to be acquired from the tap water used to dilute the ink.
Unfortunately, Mycobaterium Haemophilum is hard to treat and takes months to clear, even with the few special antibiotics that are effective.
Like with many diseases, the safest choice is avoiding exposure all together, and not getting tattoos.However, using sterile water to dilute the inks appears to be the next best choice.