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Vitamin B12 deficiency: Sign on the face you’ve taken too much of the supplement

Vitamin B12 is not created by the human body, so one must get vitamin B12 from their diet. The water-soluble vitamin is naturally present in foods such as clams, liver, beef, trout, salmon, tuna and ham. For those who don’t eat foods like this, having a vitamin B12 deficiency is a likelihood. Very low B12 intake can cause anaemia and nervous system damage. The only reliable vegan sources of B12 are foods fortified with B12 including some plant milks, some soy products and some breakfast cereals.


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Many think that taking high doses of B12 rather than the recommended intake is best for their health.

This practice has led many to wonder how much of this vitamin is too much. Health conditions such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), certain medications, genetic mutations, age and dietary restrictions can all contribute to an increased need for B12.

While people who consume adequate amounts of B12-rich foods and are able to properly absorb and utilise this nutrient don’t necessarily need to supplement, taking extra B12 has been linked to some health benefits.

Supplementing with excessively high levels of B12 has been linked to some negative side effects and noticing this change in your skin could mean you’re taking too much.

Several studies have shown that megadoses of the vitamin can lead to outbreaks of acne and rosacea, a skin condition that causes redness and pus-filled bumps on the face.

According to a study, too much vitamin B12 may promote acne.

The study found that, in the presence of vitamin B12, the skin bacteria that are commonly linked to acne start pumping out inflammatory molecules known to promote pimples.

What the study said?

In the study, scientists investigated the differences between skin bacteria from people prone to acne and bacteria from people with clear-skinned faces.

The researches looked at the bacteria’s gene expression, hoping to figure out why Propionibacterium acnes, which is the most common skin microbe, causes pimples in some people but not in others.

They found that vitamin B12 changed the gene expression of the skin bacteria, which could have led to acne-promoting inflammation.


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What the expert said?

“I think there’s a link” between vitamin B12 and acne, said Huiying Li, a co-author of the new study and an assistant professor of pharmacology at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine.

Her team found a molecular pathway that could explain the link in their study, but it will need to be confirmed by future research.

“There’s still a lot to be studied in order to really understand if B12 causes acne,” she said. Li’s research team then looked at the skin bacterium in pimple-free people who received a vitamin B12 injection.

The researchers confirmed that the B12 supplement repressed the expression of genes in P. acnes involved in synthesising the vitamin.

In fact, the expression of those genes was lowered to levels similar to those of acne patients.

There is also some evidence suggesting that high doses of B12 may lead to other negative health outcomes in those with diabetes and kidney disease.

Together, the new findings suggest that when too much B12 is present, the bacteria have changes in their gene expression that suppress further synthesis of the vitamin.

These bacteria switch to producing porphyrins, the researchers explained, and in some people, this uptick in inflammatory compounds may contribute to acne.

“We think the pathway we studied could potentially explain part of acne’s pathogenesis,” Li said.

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  • Posted on January 9, 2020