A couple weeks after eating a more Paleo diet, I got painful cracks at the side of my mouth for the first time ever in my life. Some googling says it's called angular cheilitis and can be caused by deficiencies (maybe in iron, zinc, or riboflavin). I often track my intake so I know I am getting enough of those nutrients.
A few weeks later I slipped up and began binging on SAD foods (still avoided gluten), and the cracks when away... yet now I am back on track, and the cracks are back! I thought it might be coincidence but I've really never experienced this before.
It's painful and I don't know why I'm getting them when I know I'm getting enough nutrients (according to cronometer.com, and I take a multivitamin anyway).
Any ideas why this is happening?
asked byPching (568)
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on January 27, 2012
at 07:01 PM
when i was a vegan, i suddenly developed angular cheilitis (fungal infection) as well. what helped me was eating beef - high in iron, zinc, and b12. if i remember correctly, both zinc and b12 help the body keep fungus in check.
the fact that when u go back to SAD foods helps might be because when fungus is not happy (not feeding it with SAD carbs for example), they flare up. when u do eat healthy, it will cause problems to try to get u to think that a non-healthy diet is healthier (cuz u would feel physically better when fungus isn't complaining). i have been fighting candida (yeast overgrowth) for months now and that's been my experience.
p.s. just in case u didn't know already, keep the cheilitis very dry, don't wet it. fungus loves moisture, that's why when it's wet it's painless and when dry is painful
on January 24, 2012
at 06:26 PM
Angular cheilitis is most commonly linked to iron deficiency. Although you are eating the RDA of iron, your body may not be absorbing as much of it as you need. If you are a menstruating woman, for example, you lose iron every month, and you may need to up your consumption to avoid becoming deficient. Furthermore, your body may not absorb the iron in different foods as efficiently - typically, the iron in red meats and seafood is most bioavailable. Iron also becomes more easily absorbed by the body when consumed with Vitamin C.
Other commenters are right to mention that cheilitis can also be caused by bacterial or fungal overgrowth in the mouth. Use of a topical antifungal or antibiotic cream can help. When it's fungal, it is typically candida - you could try taking a probiotic supplement like Florastor, purchasing a liquid acidophilus supplement, or adding a lot more unsweetened yogurt, with lots of living cultures, to your diet. If there is a fungus involved, it will be only too happy to feast on any and all refined carbohydrates you give it.
Finally, idiopathic AC is more common during dry, cold winter months. Drink as much water as possible and consider applying petroleum jelly to the corners of your mouth, particularly before bedtime, to prevent additional cracking.
on January 24, 2012
at 05:05 AM
I had this last year for several months and thought I'd lose my mind during my search for the culprit(s). At the time I was training for a marathon and assumed dehydration and stress were mostly to blame, but learned to avoid certain things that were obviously making it worse. The major exacerbators seemed to be tea (especially green tea), NSAIDS, salt, salt substitute, and nuts. Anything acidic was out of the question. However, I don't think any of those things were the actual cause. I knew it had to be some sort of deficiency, but was never able to nail it down - especially considering the amount of supplementation I was using at the time for anything and everything my diet wasn't providing. I couldn't imagine what I could possibly be lacking. My diet consisted of meat, eggs and green veggies, and coconut oil for the most part. I'd already been on an anti-Candida crusade for some time, so that was nothing new. At one point I threw my hands up and attributed it to die off.
Brushing my teeth was always a few minutes of adrenaline rush as a result of the sensation of pouring lemon juice and salt directly into paper-cuts. Interestingly enough, I did use cinnamon-flavored toothpaste. I just assumed all toothpaste would have the same effect.....
Long story long, they didn't heal completely until that damn marathon was a done deal, although I'm not 100% sure that it would recur under the exact same conditions. I sure as hell don't want to find out!
I hope you're able to figure it out and get rid of it. If you do, please share any helpful info you come across! This is the first I've ever heard of anyone else dealing with it. Good luck to you!
on January 23, 2012
at 01:58 PM
It can also be caused by a yeast infection; sometimes you might need an antifungal cream or oral medication. If you look in the Diet Cure, Julia Ross has some suggestions for an antifungal diet, including supplements like grapefruit seed extract.
For me, I had a problem with it a few years ago that seemed to either be caused by or exacerbated by cinnamon flavored toothpaste (a common oral irritant), and my favorite snack at the time, edamame doused in lime juice and various chili powders and salt. Once I discontinued those two things, the cracks healed immediately.
on January 24, 2012
at 12:05 PM
I had this problem and other yeast-related issues when I was VLC. When I added back a significant amount of carbs, the AC and several of the other issues resolved. Not sure if this is your situation but if you are too low carb it could explain why it cleared up when you cheated with SAD.
on July 29, 2013
at 08:21 PM
I would say cleansing of the stored toxins? if it occurs when you clean up your diet, it can take months to rid the body, and it will come out in some form or another, introducing bad foods makes you feel better, in the same way hair of the dog after drinking does. It halts the clean up... BUT I may be way off, as I am here at this site, as my vegetarian 13 yr old has this BAD right now, she has braces, I was wondering about latex gloves used at ortho, or her reaction to metal earrings, I have read that braces CAN bring this on, just wonder if vegetarian kids are MORE susceptible, but she seems to have developed a low grade fever and has chills.