Melanoma Supplement Recommendations

Multiple nutritional supplements have been associated with reduced cancer occurrence and/or cancer progression. The list below contains those with the greatest evidence-base and benefit, though it is not necessary that they all be included.


  • In vivo and in vitro studies demonstrate that astragalus significantly inhibits the growth of melanoma.[1],[2]
  • Suggested dose: Use of standardized extract: 250-500 mg, 3 – 4 times a day standardized to 0.4% 4-hydroxy-3-methoxy isoflavones; Powdered root: 250-500 mg, 3 – 4 times per day; Tincture (1:5) in 30% ethanol: 20-60 drops, 3 times per day.

Green tea extract

  • Catechins are antioxidants found in green tea, particularly EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate), are known to have numerous anti-metastatic and anti-proliferative properties. Studies on melanoma in animal cells have shown that EGCG causes cellular death and inhibition of cell cycles.[3],[4]
  • Suggested dose: 1g EGCG and mixed catechins per day.

  • Coptis extract inhibited human metastatic melanoma cells in vitro.[5] The berberines from this traditional Chinese medicine herb are the active ingredients believed to have the anti-cancerous affects.
  • Suggested dose: 2 to 10 grams of whole herb in either tincture or capsule form.


  • The active extract from the spice turmeric, curcumin has high anti-cancer effects on many cell lines, including lymphoma. Curcumin inhibited the growth of HL cell lines and increased the sensitivity to the chemotherapy cisplatin.[7] Lymphoma tumor growth in mice was inhibited by curcumin.[8],[9]
  • Suggested dose: 1-2g per day of Meriva® or Longvida® curcumin.[10],[11]


  • Berberine, used in conjunction with the chemotherapy medication doxorubicin, decreased melanoma tumor cell volume and replication of metastatic cells.[6],[7],[8]
  • Suggested dose: 500mg, three times per day.


  • Malignant melanoma cells exposed to resveratrol had disruption in cell signaling pathways in both human and animal cell studies.[9],[10]
  • Suggested dose: 100mg per day.

Maitake mushroom

  • Studies on melanoma in animal cells demonstrate powerful anti-cancer properties of the mushroom.[11]
  • Suggested dose: Capsules range from 100 to 500 mg, with at least 12-25 mg of standardized extract, 1-3 times per day.


  • Large human studies have shown that the use of vitamin A in the form of retinol significantly reduces the risk of melanoma, especially in sun exposed areas of the body such as the head and neck.[12],[13]
  • Suggested dose: 1200 mg per day.


  • In vitro studies of Chaga have demonstrated potent anti-cancer effects on melanoma and liver cancer cells.[14],[15]
  • Suggested dose: In active treatment, 3 capsules, 2 times a day, 30 minutes before meals. For prevention, reduce dose to 1 capsule, 2 times a day. For significant risk of relapse, 2 capsules, 2 times a day.

Vitamin D3

  • Meta-analysis on individuals with cutaneous melanoma demonstrated an inverse relationship between levels of vitamin D and the thickness of the tumors, as well as a poorer prognosis with deficient levels.[16],[17] Genetic analysis of melanoma patients also showed that the FokI and TaqI polymorphisms in the VDR gene are considered as potential biomarkers for melanoma susceptibility, with low vitamin D levels in melanoma patients indicating the need for vitamin D supplementation.[18]
  • Suggested dose: Suggested dose is that sufficient to raise vitamin D blood levels to >40 ng/mL, which may require 5000 IU per day or more.[19]

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[1] Huang XY, Zhang SZ, Wang WX. Enhanced antitumor efficacy with combined administration of astragalus and pterostilbene for melanoma. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2014;15(3):1163-9.

[2] Chu DT, Lin JR, Wong W. [The in vitro potentiation of LAK cell cytotoxicity in cancer and aids patients induced by F3–a fractionated extract of Astragalus membranaceus]. Zhonghua Zhong Liu Za Zhi. 1994 May;16(3):167-71.

[3] Siddiqui IA, Bharali DJ, Nihal M, Adhami VM, Khan N, Chamcheu JC, Khan MI, Shabana S, Mousa SA, Mukhtar H. Excellent anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic effects of (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate encapsulated in chitosan nanoparticles on human melanoma cell growth both in vitro and in vivo. Nanomedicine. 2014 Jun 3.

[4] Chen CC, Hsieh DS, Huang KJ, Chan YL, Hong PD, Yeh MK, Wu CJ. Improving anticancer efficacy of (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate gold nanoparticles in murine B16F10 melanoma cells. Drug Des Devel Ther. 2014 May 8;8:459-74.

[5] Liu R, Cao Z, Pan Y, Zhang G, Yang P, Guo P, Zhou Q. Jatrorrhizine hydrochloride inhibits the proliferation and neovascularization of C8161 metastatic melanoma cells. Anticancer Drugs. 2013 Aug;24(7):667-76.

[6] Mittal A, Tabasum S, Singh RP. Berberine in combination with doxorubicin suppresses growth of murine melanoma B16F10 cells in culture and xenograft. Phytomedicine. 2014 Feb 15;21(3):340-7.

[7] Kim HS, Kim MJ, Kim EJ, Yang Y, Lee MS, Lim JS. Berberine-induced AMPK activation inhibits the metastatic potential of melanoma cells via reduction of ERK activity and COX-2 protein expression. Biochem Pharmacol. 2012 Feb 1;83(3):385-94.

[8] Hamsa TP, Kuttan G. Berberine inhibits pulmonary metastasis through down-regulation of MMP in metastatic B16F-10 melanoma cells. Phytother Res. 2012 Apr;26(4):568-78.

[9] Lee YH, Kumar NC, Glickman RD. Modulation of photochemical damage in normal and malignant cells by naturally occurring compounds. Photochem Photobiol. 2012 Nov-Dec;88(6):1385-95.

[10] Habibie, Yokoyama S, Abdelhamed S, Awale S, Sakurai H, Hayakawa Y, Saiki I. Survivin suppression through STAT3/β-catenin is essential for resveratrol-induced melanoma apoptosis. Int J Oncol. 2014 Aug;45(2):895-901.

[11] Masuda Y, Murata Y, Hayashi M, Nanba H. Inhibitory effect of MD-Fraction on tumor metastasis: involvement of NK cell activation and suppression of intercellular adhesion molecule (ICAM)-1 expression in lung vascular endothelial cells. Biol Pharm Bull. 2008 Jun;31(6):1104-8.

[12] Zhang YP, Chu RX, Liu H. Vitamin a intake and risk of melanoma: a meta-analysis. PLoS One. 2014 Jul 21;9(7):e102527.

[13] Asgari MM, Brasky TM, White E. Association of vitamin A and carotenoid intake with melanoma risk in a large prospective cohort. J Invest Dermatol. 2012 Jun;132(6):1573-82.

[14] Youn MJ, Kim JK, Park SY, Kim Y, Park C, Kim ES, Park KI, So HS, Park R. Potential anticancer properties of the water extract of Inonotus [corrected] obliquus by induction of apoptosis in melanoma B16-F10 cells. J Ethnopharmacol. 2009 Jan 21;121(2):221-8.

[15] Youn MJ, Kim JK, Park SY, Kim Y, Kim SJ, Lee JS, Chai KY, Kim HJ, Cui MX, So HS, Kim KY, Park R. Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) induces G0/G1 arrest and apoptosis in human hepatoma HepG2 cells. World J Gastroenterol. 2008 Jan 28;14(4):511-7.

[16] Caini S, Boniol M, Tosti G, Magi S, Medri M, Stanganelli I, Palli D, Assedi M, Marmol VD, Gandini S. Vitamin D and melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer risk and prognosis: A comprehensive review and meta-analysis. Eur J Cancer. 2014 Jul 30. pii: S0959-8049(14)00806-5.

[17] Field S, Davies J, Bishop DT, Newton-Bishop JA. Vitamin D and melanoma. Dermatoendocrinol. 2013 Jan 1;5(1):121-9. doi: 10.4161/derm.25244.

[18] Zeljic K, Kandolf-Sekulovic L, Supic G, Pejovic J, Novakovic M, Mijuskovic Z, Magic Z. Melanoma risk is associated with vitamin D receptor gene polymorphisms. Melanoma Res. 2014 Jun;24(3):273-9. doi: 10.1097/CMR.0000000000000065.

[19] Garland CF, French CB, Baggerly LL, et al. Vitamin D supplement doses and serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D in the range associated with cancer prevention. Anticancer Res. 2011 Feb;31(2):607-11.

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