In the past week, I have developed cracks in the corners of my mouth. I looked these symptoms up and have found that this can be a riboflavin deficiency. I take a lot of vitamins every day, so this seems odd to me. The only other cause that I can think of is stress. Up until last week I was under a lot of stress. What do you think the cause is, and how should I treat this?
Symptoms of stress can be anything from looking and feeling tired to more severe problems like the kind my client, Debbie, has described. Many times stress will have a delayed response in the body, so even though the stress may be over (the wedding, the divorce, the new job, the event) the symptoms of a depleted body may keep on coming. It’s as though your body takes the brunt of the stress for a certain period of time, then it crosses over the threshold of tolerance. That is when the symptoms really begin to show.
Cracking at the corners of the mouth is thought to be a riboflavin (vitamin B2) deficiency. The B vitamins are known as the “stress vitamins.” When we are stressed out, vitamin B is easily depleted from our system. Because these vitamins are water-soluble, they are easily destroyed by alcohol, pollution, smoking, and stress, to name just a few causes.
Although Debbie was on the right track for figuring out why she was experiencing cracking at the corners of her mouth, it wasn’t until another six months went by that she discovered the real culprit. After trial and error with vitamins and products put directly on her lips, Debbie returned to her dermatologist who said it could be toothpaste that was causing her troubles. Honestly, when Debbie first told me this I was skeptical, although I had recently read about toothpaste causing reactions like perioral dermatitis, a condition that I didn’t link to Debbie’s.
You really have to become your own private detective when it comes to figuring out why you have “all of a sudden” developed a skin condition—or a change in anything having to do with your body. I talk a lot about this in regard to sugar and breakouts. Without finding what the offending substance is, whether a food or in Debbie’s case, a product, your problems may persist. If Debbie’s doctor hadn’t suggested this seemingly unrelated product (toothpaste) as being the cause, she would have continued to use it and continued to have skin problems. Or at some point, Debbie might have gone off the toothpaste, and her lip problems would have cleared up, but she might not have connected the two events.
Awareness is the key, along with being able to dissect your life in such a way as to figure out even the most mundane of activities or products used and how they may be affecting your health. I am happy to report Debbie’s cracking problems have completely gone away, and needless to say, she won’t be using teeth whitening toothpaste ever again!
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