Sore and sensitive tongue. What could I be deficient in?

Answered on January 04, 2014
Created January 02, 2014 at 5:27 AM

I have a recurring problem with my tongue that comes up every time I start to get a bit run down. The tip and front part feels over- sensitive, and hurts almost like I've burnt it on something hot, which I haven't. I can also get ulcers (canker sores) on my tongue when I'm stressed or sleep deprived. I've read that that is a sign of B vitamin deficiency which is commonly depleted in times of stress. So I've started taking a B vitamin complex in the last few weeks but this still isn't helping the raw, sore feeling. It means that some foods are hard to eat as well- if something is too acidic.

I'm in the thick of fairly high mileage as I'm training for a marathon at the moment, and I know this is why I feel a bit run down. (Please keep any opinions you may have against marathon training out of this.)

I'm sure I must be deficient in something but I don't know what it is. It's frustrating as it always comes back.



on January 02, 2014
at 08:15 PM

I already have hypothyroidism, but it's well treated. My tongue isn't swollen with teeth indentations, it just feels burnt.



on January 02, 2014
at 11:28 AM

A swollen tongue (especially if you see teeth indentations on the edges when you look in the mirror) might be a sign of hypothyroidism, especially if you have other symptoms such as cold/hot intolerance, thinning hair, especially the outer 3rd of eyebrows, cold hands/feed.



on January 02, 2014
at 06:47 AM

@daz I had some blood work done a while ago but only the major stuff. My vitamin D and iron were fine at the time. I also have Hashimotos hypothyroidism if that possibly has anything to do with it. The doctor I was seeing (who got me onto whole thyroid extract) has retired, and I have no faith left in the family GP I used to see.



on January 02, 2014
at 06:27 AM

have you had a full blood workup done? probably worth getting one done if you can, it may show something (& your doc may suggest other tests).

there is even something called runners anaemia or athletes anaemia, google those terms for more info if interested (search using non US spelling to start with to bring some study links to the top)

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5 Answers



on January 04, 2014
at 01:38 PM

What you described - it happens to my tongue when I have food that contains too much MSG. Glugging water throughout the day usually solves the problem in one to two days.



on January 03, 2014
at 09:47 PM

Are you taking a multivitamin? I'd try that for a few days if you aren't already. That'd help isolate whether or not it's a deficiency.


on January 03, 2014
at 02:55 AM

Try oil pulling to improve overall health and specifically oral health. Take 1 tbsp of coconut oil and swish around your mouth for 10-15min every day. Spit out the oil (into the bin, not the sink, as it will clog your pipes). You may experience some detox effects the first week or two, but should see improvement after that.



on January 02, 2014
at 10:17 PM

I have something called "geographic tongue". When you look at it there are white spots in various shapes that look like a map. The appearance changes over time--it would make a great fantasy story about a secret treasure map carried on the tongue. My tongue is sensitive to acidic foods, but not all the time. I can be happily eating or drinking something acidic and then all of the sudden it starts hurting a lot, just like you describe.

Geographic tongue is an inherited trait (my mom had it, my daughter has it) and I think it's fairly common in the general population. There's no need to treat it, and it doesn't seem to be related to nutrition except that I have noticed on the Paleo diet I rarely have tongue pain anymore. The last time I remember an "episode" was when my husband heavily coated some meat with smoked paprika. Ordinarily, it's foods like tomatoes or lemon which will cause it, not spices like that. But sometimes I can happily suck on a lemon with no pain, and I eat tomatoes with no problem most of the time.

Take a look at your tongue and see if you think it might be that. The nice thing is that it's benign--just a nuisance sometimes.



on January 02, 2014
at 04:15 PM

Not all health issues trace back to nutrient deficiencies. Many do. But if nutritional ducks are in a row and problems persist, there's an issue in the underlying biology.

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