Gluten and Canker Sores

I have to start off this post by saying that I’ve always been wary of the gluten hysteria. It seems like for the last 10 years or so since the general public became aware of gluten’s existence, people have been blaming gluten sensitivity for everything under the sun. Suddenly everything can be cured by cutting gluten out of your diet.

It doesn’t help that food companies have jumped in to meet the demand of a populace desperate for everything to be gluten-free. Just the fact that there are “gluten-free” products on the shelf puts a seed in your mind that there must be something bad about it. And you see it everywhere you go now. Gluten-free bread, gluten-free pasta, gluten-free crackers… I’m pretty sure I saw a sign for gluten-free gasoline the other day.

Having said all that, gluten sensitivity is a real thing, just like lactose intolerance. And if you’re prone to canker sores, anything that upsets your immune system is likely to bring them on. Not to mention that people who are most sensitive to gluten – those with Celiac Disease – have much higher instances of canker sores.

So is there a connection between gluten and canker sores? I stumbled onto a great little video from Dr. Vikki Petersen where she discusses the link between gluten and canker sores, as well as makes some other great points I’ll comment on after the jump.

One of the things that stood out to me from this is the thought that the mouth is opening of the digestive tract, and the way that digestive issues can have an effect in our mouths. The thought of getting stomach acid tests done was something that had never really occurred to me. I’d also be interested in how many people out there with canker sores would have food sensitivities. It’s something worth checking on.

Also, the PH level issue was one that was new to me. She says that you want your body to be less acidic and more alkaline, which you can test by urinating on PH strips. Also interestingly, the foods that help bring you to an alkaline state are the foods we normally associate with being acidic, like oranges and other citrus fruits.

Of course, my advice to anyone who gets canker sores is rinse very well after eating citrus.

Anyway, this is some new information to me, so I may try to test some of this out and report back what I find.

Anybody else have any experience with gluten sensitivity and canker sores?  Let me know!

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Showing 4 comments
  • Dave

    Yes, I identify with this. I’ve had terrible, recurrent canker sores all my life. I got them maybe twice a month since I was 16 until I was 32. They’d last around 10 days altogether. So I just about always had them. It was really terrible.

    I tried the gluten free diet for other reasons, and I didn’t think it would do anything. After a month it occurred to me that I hadn’t had a canker sore that whole month. It’s been four months now and I’ve only had two canker sores – once from biting my lip, and once from briefly stopping the gluten-free diet.

    And also – importantly, I think – when I have had a canker sore, it only lasts 3 days instead of 10.

    I’ve started eating citrus again! After 16 years of no citrus! I love the taste of oranges and I’ve missed them.

    • Joe Scott

      This is really cool! Thanks for the feedback.

      The more I research these, the more I make the connection between mouth ulcers and the digestive tract – that the things that affect one seem to affect the other. As she said in the video, the mouth is just the start of the digestive tract (I’ll have to shut down that thought the next time I kiss someone…)

      Good news. Keep it up!

    • Julie

      @Dave and Joe:
      Thanks for sharing your stories. Mine is similar to yours in that I too have had canker sores most of my life on a regular or continual basis with other side conditions due to my immune system being weakened.

      Recently I was diagnosed with the Epstein Barr Virus, thus began my quest for determining what was happening with my system. Starting to get more sores than usual and through self diagnosis taking larger than normal amounts of B-12 I found “some” relief however, the other multitude of symptoms were getting worse.

      I now have an excellent MD who specializes in autoimmune diseases and has determined that I have a genetic condition called MTHFR which doesn’t allow the body to process certain enzymes specifically forms of the B vitamin folate. Apparently this is more common than I thought… You can find some great resource info on Youtube if interested.

      Currently, I am gluten free and getting the right supplements I need (metho b-12, the active form) with help from my MD and an excellent nutritionist on my way to improved health and fewer mouth sores! 🙂

      Detoxing from gluten is real and it does happen differently for each individual and with unique symptoms from what I’m discovering…

      Happy to share a common trait that brought us together. My hope is that others who suffer from these debilitating diseases (Canker Sores/EBV/Celiac Disease/MTHFR) find the help and/or resources right for them in their steps towards improved health. Best of luck! Julie

  • Jared

    Cutting gluten out of my diet essentially cured my canker sores. The paradox is that I can now eat all of my former triggers, like chocolate, tomatoes, citrus, walnuts, etc. without worry. In moderation, of course.

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