Do Vegans Get More Canker Sores?

February 3, 2011

Alright. I have yet another canker sore. I can’t take this anymore! The only thing I can figure, is it must be coming from my new vegan diet. So I Googled ‘do vegans get more canker sores?’, and the answer appears to be – yes. Apparently vegans can sometimes lack certain vitamins or minerals, namely folic acid, Vitamin B12, and zinc. This, of course, is if you aren’t good about eating enough “real” foods – whole grains, legumes, beans, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. It is possible to be a junk-food vegan. This is when you can fall into vitamin deficiencies.

Shortly after I made the switch to a vegan diet, I did learn that vegans need more B12. I guess it is the most common culprit of canker sores for vegans. I bought a B12 supplement at Whole Foods, made by VegLife. But I’ll be honest, I haven’t exactly been very good about taking it. This brings up another issue for me though. I’ve been wondering, if a diet leads to vitamin deficiencies, can it really be a whole, nutritional diet? Is it really a good, balanced diet if it requires you take supplements?

But the reality is, even a conventional meat-and-dairy diet requires we take additional vitamin and mineral supplements. We are all advised to take a one-a-day multivitamin, plus a Vitamin D/calcium/magnesium, plus an Omega-3 fish oil. So really, what’s one more pill? It’s not like the vegan diet requires additional supplements, but a standard diet doesn’t. So when I look at it that way, then I’m fine adding one more pill. Plus I don’t mind the B12 pill, as it’s small, and you just put it under your tongue to dissolve. Not like my other supplements, which are like choking down massive horse pills.

*Update: I have put more of a concerted effort into ensuring I am eating plenty of legumes and leafy green vegetables, and I haven’t gotten any more canker sores. And I’m still not good about taking my B12 pill, so perhaps that was the key. Simply eating more plants.


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5 Responses to Do Vegans Get More Canker Sores?

  1. I went vegan in January and have definitely noticed an uptick in my canker sores. I used to have a bout maybe three times a year now it’s more like every other week. I eat plenty of legumes and green leafy vegetables and have started eating kiwis which I heard on the People’s Pharmacy help deter canker sores. Guess I need the B-12. Very frustrating but I am glad to figure out what is wrong. Thank you.

    • Katherine says:

      You’re very welcome! I hope taking a B12 supplement has put an end to your canker sore woes. There was a period where I thought that may be what puts an end to me eating a vegan diet. I hadn’t heard that kiwis are good for that. Thanks for the tip! (ps: I apologize for the delayed response. I fell off writing for a bit.)

  2. Margalit says:

    Can a diet be wholesome if it lacks an essential vitamin? The answer I read in the book about the China report. B12 is made exclusively by microorganisms. In old times, there were plenty of such in the soil, but nowadays, most vegetables are grown in soil deficient of such bacteria. So, you if you are vegan, you have to take B12. Interestingly, pickled food and stinky tofu are some other sources of such bacteria. My guess is that is why stinky tofu was considered healthy in CHina to eat.

  3. sherry jones says:

    what about lichen planus….i take B12 and eat plant based. could I still not be eating enough leafy greens?

  4. Ree says:

    All livestock is given b12 vitamins these days because they should get it from the soil but the soil these days is deficient or they don’t graze they are fed grains and soy. So whether you eat meat or are vegan you still get your b12 from supplements.

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