Some vitamins are essential for bones, others for cell growth, and still others, like B-complex vitamins, are supporters of skin. Your lips, which have extremely sensitive skin, depend on vitamins to keep them healthy and prevent them from drying and chapping. Signs and symptoms of chapped lips include dry flaking skin, visible cracks, tightness, pain and sometimes bleeding. Chapped lips can be caused by frequent licking of lips, cold dry weather and dehydration. However, deficiencies of some vitamins may even make them crack. Eating a healthy diet helps prevent dry lips vitamin deficiency.
Vitamin B-2 Deficiency
Lack of some vitamins, particularly B vitamins, may cause chapped lips. Vitamin B-2, also called riboflavin, is a B-complex vitamin that is needed for healthy hair, nails and skin, including your lips. Deficiency of vitamin B-2 may result in mouth or lip sores, according to the National Institutes of Health. Good sources of riboflavin include dairy products, eggs, green leafy vegetables, beans, nuts and lean meats. Male adults require 1.3 milligrams of riboflavin and female adults require 1.0 milligrams, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Vitamin B-3 Deficiency
Niacin, or vitamin B-3, is another B-complex vitamin needed for healthy skin. Insufficient dietary niacin, may result in dry, cracked lips, dermatitis and red, swollen tongue and mouth, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. They recommend consuming 13 to 20 milligrams of niacin per day. To get enough niacin in your diet, eat foods such as tuna, halibut, beef, pork, poultry, cereal grains, been, green leafy vegetables and milk.
Vitamin B-6 Deficiency
Vitamin B-6 deficiency is also related to skin disorders, dermatitis and cracks at the corners of the mouth. To get enough B-6, also called pyridoxine, in your diet, Colorado State University recommends adult men and women up to age 50 should consume 1.3 milligrams per day. Food sources of B-6 include meats, whole grains, legumes and green leafy vegetables.
Zinc Deficiency and Your Lips
The National Institutes of Health lists hair loss, weight loss, sexual dysfunction and skin lesions among the signs of zinc deficiency. Your diet should provide 10 to 25 milligrams of zinc each day. Consuming 100 milligrams of zinc per day can be toxic. Foods containing zinc include whole grains, beef, pork, turkey, beans, nuts, ricotta, Swiss and Gouda cheese.
Vitamin A Deficiency
This vitamin is linked to dry skin and lips when consumed in excess. Vitamin A toxicity can be fatal. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, most people get enough vitamin A from their diets. There are two sources of vitamin A; retinoids, which comes from animal foods and carotenoids, which comes from plants. However, taking supplements increases the risk of toxicity. The UMMC lists 10,000 international units as the upper safe limit for vitamin A . Foods high in vitamin A include dark-green leafy vegetables and yellow-orange fruits and vegetables, beef, calf and poultry liver, eggs and dairy products.
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Appendix F: Calculate the Percent Daily Value for the Appropriate Nutrients
- Colorado State University Extension: Water-Soluble Vitamins: B-Complex and Vitamin C
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin A (Retinol)
- National Institutes of Health: Riboflavin
- Mayo Clinic: Niacin
- National Institutes of Health: Zinc Deficiency
- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: Niacin (Vitamin B3)