Published On: Thu, Jun 25th, 2015

Got acne? Lay off the B12

Acne facial care teenager woman squeezing pimple

Does acne occasionally make your life miserable? Were you once a pimply teenager, but still as an adult have unpleasant reminders with an unwelcome attack?

According to the University of California in Los Angeles its time to avoid vitamin B12 which some of their researchers have identified as the possible culprit.

There, Professors Huiying Li, an assistant professor of molecular and medical pharmacology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, and Dr. Noah Craft, a dermatologist at LA BioMed at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center have established a scientific link between acne and vitamin B12.

According to their research Vitamin B12 appears to tweak how genes behave in the facial bacteria of some people who normally enjoy clear skin. The reactivity of the facial bacteria to B12 can promote inflammation and lead to pimples.

By shedding light on the mechanism behind B12’s role in acne, the UCLA finding now hope to identify drug targets that may lead to new treatments for acne.

Of course vitamin B12, also has useful healthy properties as well, and is found in meat, fish, eggs, dairy products and even – yes Marmite! Called Cobalamin, it is a water- soluble vitamin with a key role in the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system.

The new study discovered that vitamin B12 alters the metabolic activity of the skin bacterium responsible for acne, “Propionibacterium acnes”. This causes the bacteria to secrete an inflammatory compound that in turn triggers pimples. With a name like that it is not at all surprising.

Dr. Li and Dr. Craft reported their findings in the journal Science Translational Medicine, writing: “Our findings suggest a new bacterial pathogenesis pathway in acne and provide one molecular explanation for the long-standing clinical observation that vitamin B12 supplementation leads to acne development in a subset of individuals”. “Our study… provided evidence that… interactions between the host and the skin microbiota play essential roles in disease development”.

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