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Tongue – Beefy Red, Smooth, Burning 

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tongue in B12 deficiencyWhat Is Beefy Red, Smooth, Burning Tongue?

Beefy, red, smooth, burning tongue is an inflammatory alteration in tongue tissue characteristic of vitamin B12 deficiency.

Inflammation makes the tongue red and sore which, when untreated, progresses to atrophied papillae (shrunken taste buds) that makes the tongue smooth.

Q: Why does vitamin B12 alter the tongue?

A: Vitamin B12 is essential for the metabolism of all cells, especially for those of the digestive tract of which the tongue is an organ.1

These easily seen changes to tongue tissue are an important diagnostic feature of deficient vitamin B12, which causes other devastating unseen damage, because the discomfort generally causes the individual to seek medical care.

What Is Beefy Red, Smooth, Burning Tongue In Celiac Disease and/or Gluten Sensitivity?


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  1. Krause’s Food, Nutrition, & Diet Therapy. 10th Edition. Kathleen Mahan, Sylvia Escott-Stump. 2000. W.B. Saunders Company. []