According to the National Institutes of Health, Vitamin B12 is a nutrient that helps keep the body's nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA, the genetic material in all cells. Vitamin B12 also helps prevent a type of anemia called megaloblastic anemia that makes people tired and weak. Most people in the United States get enough vitamin B12 from the foods they eat. However, there are two steps required for the body to absorb vitamin B12 from food.
First, hydrochloric acid in the stomach separates vitamin B12 from the protein to which vitamin B12 is attached in food. After this, vitamin B12 combines with a protein made by the stomach called intrinsic factor and is absorbed by the body. Some people have pernicious anemia, a condition in which they cannot make intrinsic factor. As a result, they have trouble absorbing vitamin B12 from all foods and dietary supplements.
How much vitamin B12 do I need?
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the average daily U.S. Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) is:
- for people age 14 and older, 2.4 mcg
- for adult and adolescent pregnant females, 2.6 mcg
- for adult and adolescent lactating females, 2.8mcg
The B12 and Acne Link
Since acne is a disease of the skin, it was used a model to understand the molecular response of the skin with B12. Research found is that when B12 is supplemented that the bacteria stopped producing their own supplies and instead begin producing porphyrin molecules. Porphyrins can generate inflammation and acne is triggered by inflammation initially. Vitamin B12 actually altered the normal metabolic pathway and activity of the skin bacteria. Researchers also observed that another pathway, the porphyrin biosynthesis, is linked to the B12 biosynthesis pathway. They hypothesize that when there is an elevated B12 level, it leads to an overproduction of porphyrins by P.acnes. Previous studies have shown that porphyrin can induce inflammation and acne .
What can you do?
Have blood work done to determine if you are deficient in B12. Those with an auto-immune disease or practice a vegetarian life, tend to need additional B12. If your levels are good, avoid supplements that have high doses of vitamin B12 in them. Don’t take extra B12 just for energy. Limit foods high in vitamin B12. Milk, Cheese, Liver, Kidney, Pate, Clams, Crab, Oysters and Mussels all contain high levels of vitamin B12.
At Bella Grace we customize treatments based on each individual and their type of acne. We don't believe in a one size fits all approach and work with our clients to attack it all sides because there are many factors that can contribute to acne. If all areas aren't addressed then you will never truly get clear and stay clear.
Brenda Moran is a Certified Acne Specialist, Nationally Certified Esthetician, and owner of Bella Grace Home Spa.