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Does B12 Help Psoriasis?

by
author image Matthew Busse
Matthew Busse has pursued professional health and science writing since 2007, writing for national publications including "Science Magazine," "New Scientist" and "The Scientist." Busse holds a doctorate in molecular biology from the University of California-San Diego.
Does B12 Help Psoriasis?
B-12 may help your psoriasis. Photo Credit PAULandLARA/iStock/Getty Images

Vitamin B-12 is a water-soluble vitamin belonging to the B-complex family of vitamins. Many important biological processes in your body, including red blood cell formation and nervous system function, require vitamin B-12. Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition in which areas of skin become inflamed and develop into rough, dry patches. Treating psoriasis can be challenging, causing people to search for many different remedies. One possible remedy is treatment with vitamin B-12; however, the available research concerning this treatment has produced conflicting results.

Vitamin B-12 Injections

While some people claim that injections of vitamin B-12 help reduce their symptoms of psoriasis, the clinical studies suggest the percentage of psoriasis patients who benefit from vitamin B-12 is low. In the 1960s, doctors investigated injecting solutions of vitamin B12 directly into skin lesions of people with psoriasis. One of the first studies involved 73 patients with psoriasis. The results did not find any benefit from treatment with vitamin B12, as reported in the December 1962 issue of the "British Medical Journal." Since these early studies, few additional studies have been conducted on injections of vitamin B-12.

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Vitamin B12 Cream

In recent years, interest has grown in using topical creams containing vitamin B-12 to treat psoriasis. In some of the creams, vitamin B-12 is combined with other ingredients, such as avocado oil. In a small study, involving 13 patients and published in 2001 in "Dermatology," a cream containing vitamin B-12 and avocado oil demonstrated promising results in treating chronic plaque psoriasis.

Additional Research

While the study published in 2001 in "Dermatology" provided encouraging results for treating psoriasis with vitamin B12 creams, due to the small size of this study, additional research is needed to support these claims. A larger trial of 48 patients was conducted by the Ruhr University of Bochum in Germany to test a similar vitamin B-12 and avocado oil cream. Although the study was completed in 2006, the results have not yet been released, according to ClinicalTrials.gov.

Vitamin B-12 Levels During Psoriasis

Researchers have also investigated possible reasons for the beneficial effects of vitamin B-12 on psoriasis. Many of the B-complex vitamins, including vitamin B-12, are necessary to maintain healthy skin. One possible connection between vitamin B-12 and psoriasis could be that low levels of vitamin B-12 directly cause psoriasis. The currently available evidence does not support this theory. A study published in the December 2009 issue of the "Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology" found that vitamin B-12 levels were not significantly different between patients with psoriasis and healthy volunteers. These results suggest that ingesting supplements of vitamin B-12 are also unlikely to help psoriasis.

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