Too much of a good thing may be causing acne breakouts. Researchers at UCLA say having too much B-12 vitamin in your diet may be the source of acne for some.
The essential nutrient, found in meat, fish, eggs and dairy products, as well as in Marmite, alters the activity of skin bacteria. This leads to unsightly spots and pimples in susceptible people, a new study found.
They believe the discovery could lead to new treatments for the distressing skin disorder, and shed light on why some people who take vitamin B12 supplements come out in spots.
While it was already known that taking the vitamin pills can result in acne flare-ups, no-one had previously been able to explain the phenomenon.
The new study solved the mystery by showing that the vitamin alters the metabolic activity of the skin bug responsible for acne, Propionibacterium acnes. This causes the bacteria to secrete an inflammatory compound that in turn triggers pimples, reports the Daily Mail.
The research involved testing 10 volunteers who were all given vitamin B12 supplements. Within a week, just one of them broke out in spots.
To investigate what had happened the researchers collected bacterial samples from the participants' noses using deep-cleansing pore strips.
They discovered that excess B12 quenched the bacteria's own production of the vitamin. This had the effect of boosting levels of an inflammatory compound, porphyrin, released by the bacteria.
Porphyrin is known to drive the inflammatory skin response linked to acne.
Vitamin B12 plays key roles in the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system, and red blood cell formation.