In recent years, vitamins and supplements have found themselves at the center of a hotly debated conversation about whether or not they're actually necessary for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. While the jury is still out on which are truly effective and which are best left behind at the drugstore, a recent study might make you want to steer clear of one of the most common supplements: vitamin B12.
According to Science Alert, a study conducted in 2015 revealed that vitamin B12—naturally found in meat and dairy products and often taken as a supplement to make up for a vegetarian or vegan diet—may alter facial bacteria in such a way that's been linked to acne breakouts. Researchers compared the molecular pathway that produces vitamin B12 in the skin of people without acne with that of people who were prone to breakouts. Then, they tested the effects of increased amounts of B12 in participants with clear skin by giving them a B12 injection.
They found that the vitamin did, in fact, play a role in altering skin bacteria. Simply put, taking extra B12 may prompt bacteria on the skin to slow its natural production of the vitamin, making it more susceptible to acne. If you take B12 supplements and are prone to breakouts, this study might give you some insights into what's been happening to your skin. Of course, if your doctor has identified that you have a vitamin B12 deficiency, by all means, keep taking your supplements as prescribed.
It's important to note that this evidence comes from one small study. Before you go tossing your supplements out the window or swearing off meat and dairy, talk to your doctor and dermatologist so you can consider all of your options. Head to Science Alert for more information on this study and read more on vitamins and supplements below.