B12 and Hyperpigmentation of the Skin

Salmon filet on a dinner plate
Image Credit: gbh007/iStock/Getty Images

Hyperpigmentation occurs when the body produces excess amounts of melanin, usually due to skin damage or hormonal fluctuations, resulting in dark patches of skin. Commonly known as age or liver spots, hyperpigmentation may also be in the form of freckles. Skin discolorations may be treated with essential nutrients, such as vitamin B12. Consult your medical advisor before taking B12 supplements as they may interact with certain medications.


Video of the Day

B12 Significance

Vitamin B12 contains the element cobalt, which the body requires in order to produce healthy red blood cells. Red blood cells are responsible for supplying oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. In addition to supporting a healthy supply of red blood cells, vitamin B12 also reinforces neurological function, DNA synthesis and tissue repair, all of which are needed to maintain healthy organs, hair and skin. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, the average adult requires 2.4 mcg of the B12 vitamin, while pregnant or nursing women require 2.6 mcg and 2.8 mcg, respectively.


B12 Deficiencies

A poor diet, kidney failure or excessive loss of blood may all be contributing factors to a deficiency in vitamin B12. This results in a low red blood cell count, otherwise known as anemia. A lack of red blood cells means that not enough oxygen is being delivered to body organs and tissues. An anemic patient often complains of symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness, chest pains, shortness of breath, a tingling sensation or constipation. According to "British Medical Journal," an article published in November 1963 draws a correlation between anemic patients suffering from hyperpigmentation and a vitamin B12 deficiency.


B12 Sources

Vitamin B12 is located primarily in animal food products, such as seafood, dairy, eggs and meats. Most individuals receive enough of the B12 vitamin unless animal intake is restricted. Vegetarians lacking in vitamin B12 can find it in animal-friendly products such as cheese, milk and yogurt; however, additional supplementation may be necessary.


Hyperpigmentation Treatment

Hyperpigmentation may be treated by consuming a diet rich in A, B and C vitamins. Vitamin B12 interacts with other B vitamins to sustain a healthy skin complexion by regulating the production of melanin. Vitamin A, which may also be found in topical ointments, may be used to treat blotchy skin tones while vitamin C focuses on your skin's collagen production. The appearance of having glowing skin is an attribute commonly associated with the antioxidant vitamin C. This particular vitamin contains tyrosinase inhibitors, which function to prevent enzymes from creating excessive amounts of melanin due to skin injury.