Posts Tagged ‘Vitamin B12 deficiency’

Take Two Aspirins and Call Me in the Morning

It is the 10 of March and I am in Minnesota, spring in the air and a smile on my face. For some reason the sudden warm air being ushered in by strong southerly winds transports me back to my years spent in Rome, Italy.

You see, in Rome the Sirocco winds would bring in very warm African air but along with it came the sands of Africa. It quite literally sand blasted your exposed skin and wasn’t always very pleasant. We have the warmth but thankfully not the abrasive sand.

Speaking of warmth

While mention of the Roman Sirocco winds are not the perfect segue it is fun to reminisce just a little before I get lost in today’s topic, burning mouth and its possible causes. It is a topic I have dealt with before because it is a long-standing issue. It has burned (also referred to as a metallic taste or minty taste) on and off for several years and I mostly ignore it but sometimes it finally gets to me and I start looking for solutions, some more far-reaching than others.

Many experts say it is caused by hormonal disruptions like menopause. Others blame a B12 deficiency and then there is another interesting potential cause, salicylates. Yes, like the main ingredient in aspirin, a common pain reliever, salicylic acid. What I didn’t know is salicylates are in food as well, and lots of food.

In fact, it is in many of the foods I eat every day. It is the reason it first struck me as a possible cause of burning mouth but it is also the reason I find it almost impossible to eliminate from my diet. The more I learned the more I wanted to know, so let’s investigate a little more about salicylates.

Where are the salicylates?

A better question would be, where aren’t the salicylates? I found several sites (here is one) that dealt with the issue because apparently many people with chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia are adversely affected by the foods that are high in salicylates (oxalates and amines as well).

No one really mentioned burning mouth syndrome but there are oral manifestations involved with salicylate sensitivity. If eliminating items with salicylic acid decreased my burning mouth my enthusiasm would increase, so looking in to the offending ingredients was worth a bit of my time. Let’s then explore the sources of salicylates.

Here are a few that are on the “High salicylate” list and in my every day diet:

  • Turmeric
  • Coconut oil
  • Black tea
  • Milk Thistle
  • Almonds
  • Peanuts
  • Black Pepper
  • Cucumber
  • Spinach
  • Avocado

Not to mention Boswellia, grapeseed, cinnamon, raisins, wine, white vinegar, thyme, tarragon, etc that I occasionally consume. These are only a few of the multitude of items that contain high levels of salicylic acid. It quite literally goes on for page after page, category after category.

Are salicylates really suspected of increasing pain?

The caution with salicylates seems to have started years ago when it was determined that Gauifenesin,  an expectorant, might help people, young and old, who suffered from pain brought on by fibromyalgia. One Dr. St. Armand proclaimed that Gauifenesin had the ability to remove excess phosphates from the body and that phosphates were the cause of the constant nagging pain that those with fibromyalgia suffer. I will add that many disagree with him and feel there is no substantial evidence to prove his theory.

That said, St. Armand said that when taking Gauifenesin didn’t work for some fibromyalgia sufferers it was most likely a blockage caused by the ingestion of anything with salicylates, thus the relationship with pain and salicylates.

After reading any number of papers and opinions it seems plausible to me that salicylates do block the formation of Vitamin K and Vitamin K is necessary for clotting blood and healthy bone formation. I suppose if healthy bone formation is being disrupted pain could be a side effect.

Low levels of salicylates are also known to decrease the excretion of uric acid. If there is more circulating uric acid, in my opinion there could be increased pain. Uric acid buildup is known to be a causative factor in gout and gout is definitely painful.

To be perfectly honest, I cannot find one source that tells me exactly why salicylates may cause any number of symptoms but I can find page after page that will provide a long list of symptoms in people who are salicylate sensitive or even allergic. I can also tell you that many of the symptoms on the list are also symptoms of hypothyroidism, go figure.

Kris Insight

When I first came across salicylate sensitivity I had an aha moment. Aha, perhaps my burning mouth and sensitivity to many items with salicylates in them was because I was sensitive to the salicylates. The more I read and researched the more I determined it probably wasn’t a primary cause of my long-standing issue.

I think if I had chronic debilitating pain, eliminating salicylic acid would be well worthwhile just to see if it helped. It definitely falls in to the category of “it can’t hurt” (as long as you only do an elimination diet for a few weeks).

As for burning mouth, which brought me to this subject, I am not so sure. I think for me the B12 shots I am going to try for a few weeks make far more sense as I know I have a B12 deficiency and that is one of many causes of burning mouth syndrome.



How to Improve Nutrient Levels

You may, if you have read my posts recently, remember my Specter of a Spectracell post. I thought I should update my readers on my recent conversation with Dr. Bruley and what we decided I should try to see if I could improve my antioxidant levels.

What came first the chicken or the egg?

The first question we dealt with was why were my anti-oxidant levels deficient? I had some ideas and Dr. Bruley had some ideas and in the end we both conceded that we didn’t know the why and the only thing to do was to move forward.

The facts are I already take all the antioxidants and my diet is quite good. My feeling is we cannot get all of our antioxidants and vitamins from our food anymore as the soil is so depleted everywhere, even in my own garden where I am madly trying to enrich the soil as naturally as possible. That leaves one the only option, take supplements to keep your antioxidant levels high. Also, with an autoimmune disease, a body may need higher levels of antioxidants and for sure B12, so the last thing I want is to have low cellular levels of Selenium, Zinc, CoQ10, B12 and Inositol.

Just tell me what to do

For once I kept my mouth closed (for the most part) and let the doctor do the talking. At $95/15 minutes I wisely decided to let Dr. Bruley talk and once we were off the phone I could digest everything he had said. (I used to balk at paying him that much per 15 minutes but then I found out that at a Minute Clinic you will pay$80 for one minute and all you will get is the same old allopathic crap). Here are the supplements he told me to take:

  • Selenium-Basically if I was doing 200 mg up it to 400 mg per day
  • Zinc-he recommended Orthomolecular Reactive Zinc which comes in 54 mg capsules
  • Inositol-750 mg  twice daily.
  • B12- injections of B12 may be necessary otherwise take 3000-5000 mcg of sublingual methylcobalamin B12 every day.
  • CoQ10-200 mg a day or if I am taking 200 mg then increase it to 400 mg a day.
  • Metagenics Dynamic Greens-1 scoop per day.

The difficult choices

I hate giving injections as a dental hygienist, so I really struggled with the idea of injecting a vitamin. After reading available literature and talking to Chloe, my research buddy, I have decided to try B12 injections. Chloe pointed me to a compounding pharmacy in LaCrosse, WI that her functional medicine doctor uses for B12 injections. There I found a very helpful pharmacist named Wayne who answered all my questions about the forms of B12 they compound to be injected, Methylcobalamin and hydroxocobalamin (which is considered the most easily absorbed form). After talking to him I called Dr. Bruley and he agreed to contact that pharmacy and I am going to do it, I shall try the injections of B12.

Also I am going to wait awhile before doing anything else about my digestion. Zinc is needed for  HCl  production (the acid your stomach needs to digest your food) along with B1, B6 and Histidine. Restoring my Zinc levels may actually kick my digestion in to gear and I will need no further assistance. It is altogether possible that if my Zinc levels were restored all the other nutrient levels would come up but that seems a bit risky.

As for the other suggestions I am increasing CoQ10 to 200 mg twice per day. I was taking  Selenium but have increased that to 400 mg per day. I was not taking Inositol, so have started that two to three times per day and I will most likely order the Metagenics greens BUT it has mint in it and my burning mouth and mint do not coexist well, so I am trying E3Live. As my regular readers may recall green drinks and I do not always do well together (check out my post on the subject) given the amount of brassicas they always contain and I can take E3Live every day without a problem.

What does this have to do with you?

Yes, I know you may be asking what this has to do with you and I understand. If you, dear reader, read my blog because you have an autoimmune disease (or even suspect you might have thyroid problems) someday you may take the big step and do a Spectracell blood test. When the results come back you, too, may find that you have similar nutrient deficiencies.

We thyroid people do share many commonalities because our autoimmune disease causes our bodies to be out of whack, our bodies are not like other human bodies but they are like each other’s and what works for me may work for you. If nothing else my results and treatment gives you a starting point and from there you will have to do what works for your body. As Bruce Lee said “Absorb what is useful, reject what is useless, add what is uniquely your own”.

Have a healthy and happy Valentine’s Day,