Canker sores (aphthous stomatitis is the medical term) are single or clustered shallow, painful ulcers found anywhere in the oral cavity. The sores usually disappear in seven to 21 days, but are recurrent in many people.
What Causes Canker Sores?
Studies show that recurrent canker sores appear to be related to trauma, food sensitivities, stress and/or nutrient deficiency. Stress is often a precipitating factor in recurrent canker sores.
What Dietary Factors are Important in Canker Sores?
There is considerable evidence that sensitivity to gluten (a protein found in grains) is the primary cause of recurrent canker sores in many cases. Withdrawing gluten from the diet results in complete remission of recurrent canker sores in many people.
Which Nutritional Supplements Should I Take for Canker Sores?
The lining of the mouth and throat is often the first place where nutritional deficiency becomes visible, due to the high turnover rate of the cells on the surface of this lining. Several studies show nutrient deficiencies to be much more common among recurrent canker sore sufferers than in the general population—especially deficiencies in thiamin, folic acid, B12, B6 and iron. When nutrient deficiencies were corrected, the majority of subjects with recurrent canker sores experienced complete remission. Taking a high-potency multiple vitamin and mineral formula will insure adequate intake of all nutrients linked to recurrent canker sores.
Foundation Supplements. There are three products from Natural Factors that I think are critical in supporting good health:
- MultiStart: Age- and gender-specific multiple vitamin and mineral formulas. Follow label instructions for dosages.
- Enriching Greens: A great-tasting “greens drink” containing highly concentrated greens like chlorella, spirulina, wheat grass juice and barley grass juice, along with herbal extracts. Take one serving (1 tablespoon) in 8 ounces of water daily.
- RxOmega-3 Factors: A true pharmaceutical-grade fish-oil supplement. Take two capsules daily.
DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice) is a special licorice extract effective in promoting healing of recurrent canker sores. In one study, 15 of 20 subjects with canker sores who took DGL experienced 50 to 75 percent improvement within one day, followed by complete healing of the ulcers by the third day. Take one or two 380 mg chewable tablets of DGL 20 minutes before meals.
It is often difficult to determine if you have a sensitivity to gluten. I have found that a simple laboratory test called an alpha-1-gliadin antibody assay is the best method of diagnosing gluten sensitivity. The test measures the level of gluten antibodies in your blood or saliva. I strongly recommend you get this test if you suffer from recurrent canker sores, as it can accurately tell you if gluten is a problem for you.
How do I Know if the Recommendations are Working?
Your canker sores should heal within three days.
“Thanks, Dr. Murray. I had painful canker sores for over 20 years, as well as chronic digestive issues. Elimination of gluten was the answer for me. It’s amazing that no other doctor ever told me to give that a try.” —JB