A fiery red, smooth, burning tongue is an alteration in tongue tissue that is characteristic of advanced niacin deficiency.1
Q: How does niacin deficiency cause the tongue to be red and sore?
A: Niacin is an essential B vitamin that is required for a healthy tongue and by all body cells as well. Deficiency first shows in tissues with rapid cellular turnover, such as mucosal cells of the tongue.
When absorbed from the small intestines, niacin (the form in food) becomes the active form niacinamide. Niacinamide is converted by the body into co-enzymes which are present in all cells. These enzymes function in oxidation-reduction reactions essential for release of energy from carbohydrates, fats, and proteins and are needed as components for more than 200 enzymes involved in metabolism.
In addition to producing energy, niacinamide is essential for healthy skin and the mucosal lining of the digestive tract, normal functioning of the brain and nervous system, and production of steroid hormones from adrenal glands and hormones from sex glands.
What Is A Fiery Red, Smooth, Burning Tongue In Celiac Disease and/or Gluten Sensitivity?
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Krause’s Food, Nutrition, & Diet Therapy. 10th Edition. Kathleen Mahan, Sylvia Escott-Stump. 2000. W.B. Saunders Company. ↩