Vitamin B12, folic acid can heal mouth ulcers

Shahina Maqbool
Patients with recurrent mouth ulcers, which produce an intense burning sensation and difficulty in eating leading to low food intake and poor health, often have deficiency of Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid.
A cross-sectional analytical study conducted by the Pakistan Medical Research Council (PMRC) speculates that supplementation of Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid is likely to heal mouth ulcers and reduce the misery of patients.

In the present study, 57 patients with recurrent mouth ulcers and 57 age and gender matched controls (not having mouth ulcers) were studied. All patients and controls had their haemoglobin, hematocrit, RBC foliate, Vitamin B12 and serum ferritin levels checked. The results showed significantly low folic acid and Vitamin B12 levels in patients with mouth ulcers while ferritin levels did not show any significant difference in the two groups.

Recurrent Aphthous Stomatitis (RAS) is as old as humanity itself and is a Greek term, ‘Aphthai,’ meaning to set on fire in relation to focal painful inflammation of oral mucosa. Other names of RAS are recurrent aphthous ulcer, canker sores, recurrent oral ulcers, and mouth ulcers.

Aphthous ulcers of the oral cavity are very frequently encountered in general practice. Although the exact cause remains obscure, many factors are considered to contribute to the pathogenesis of these lesions, such as immunological factors, local trauma, smoking, stress, hormonal state, family history, food hypersensitivity, infections and allergy. Studies have reported that globally 20% of the world population is affected by the condition, with prevalence as high as 66% in certain populations.

Recurrent aphthous ulcer is a multi-factorial disease with predominantly unknown etiology. Many factors are known to contribute to the pathogenesis of RAS such as stress, immunological factors, local trauma, hormonal state, hereditary and genetic factors, microbial factor, food hypersensitivity drug allergy and hematinic deficiencies.

Hematinic deficiencies are found in 20% of patients with RAS with recurrence rates as high as 50%. It was observed that 60% patients with B12 deficiency, on receiving B12 therapym recovered completely while 70% of patients with RAS improved with hematinic replacement therapy.

Since 1949, the World Health Organization has recognized the public health importance of nutritional anaemia as a major health problem throughout the world, especially in the developing countries. Nutrition surveys in a number of countries have highlighted the widespread prevalence of nutritional anaemia in developing countries. Infants, young children, menstruating and pregnant women are most frequently affected. Foliate deficiency is the second most common cause of nutritional anaemia in the world.

It has been found that out of Pakistan’s total population of 159,196,336, an estimated 2,048,482 people are anaemic out of which 233,793 are suffering from pernicious anaemia, which can cause oral ulceration, mucosal bleeding and glossitis.

Courtesy: The News, 30/3/2008

2 thoughts on “Vitamin B12, folic acid can heal mouth ulcers”

  1. Natural sources:
    Vitamin B12 is found in foods that come from animals, including fish, meat, poultry, eggs and milk.
    Vitamin B12 is provided as a supplement in many processed foods, and is also available in vitamin pill form including multi vitamins. It is also available in injection form

Leave a Reply