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Will Correcting Vitamin D Deficiency Help a Sore Mouth?

Although angular cheilitis is more often associated with inadequate vitamin B or iron, one reader found that vitamin D helped her sore mouth.

Have you ever discovered that a seemingly simple change made a big difference in a long-standing problem? We are always pleased to hear from people who have found a way to tackle such a puzzle. This reader found that a vitamin supplement healed a sore mouth.

Could Vitamin D Help Heal a Sore Mouth?

Q. I struggled with angular cheilitis for 60 years, from the time I was 5 until two years ago. Then my family doctor tested my vitamin D level and the result came back showing I was highly deficient with a score of 12. He had me start taking 2,000 IU of the vitamin daily.

The first thing I noticed was that the corners of my mouth were no longer cracking and sore or bleeding. Since then I have continued to take 2,000 IUs and have had a flare-up with a sore mouth only once when I was traveling and neglected to take my pills.

I mentioned the connection between vitamin D and angular cheilitis on a recent visit to a dermatologist. He dismissed what I told him, saying it was rare for vitamin D to help something like this. Perhaps I am a rare bird, but I swear taking vitamin D has healed what was a lifelong problem for me.

Vitamin D and Angular Cheilitis:

A. Your vitamin D story is fascinating. It does not appear that doctors have studied the effect of vitamin D supplementation on angular cheilitis (cracks at the corners of the mouth). These painful cracks at the corners of the mouth are also termed perlèche. It may be brought on by nutritional deficiencies (low levels of B vitamins or minerals like zinc and iron).

This painful condition is more commonly treated with antifungal or antibacterial medication. Others who would like to learn more about inadequate vitamin D and its potential symptoms may be interested in our Guide to Vitamin D Deficiency. We have written about home remedies for angular cheilitis here.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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