Vitamin B12 is a very important ingredient for the healthy running of the body. But unlike vitamin D, it’s not naturally made within the body, meaning you could be at risk of a deficiency if you aren’t eating the right foods. One of the easiest ways to reveal your risk of a B12 deficiency is to check the colour of your tongue.
Vitamin B12 is used by the body to make new red blood cells, nerves, and DNA.
It’s also used in a number of other everyday bodily functions, but huge numbers of people may not be getting enough in their diet.
The body doesn’t naturally engineer vitamin B12 – like it does for vitamin D – which is why it’s crucial that everybody eats enough B12-rich foods.
But if you are at risk of a deficiency, it can be difficult to even know.
“Unfortunately, B12 deficiency is common, especially in the elderly,” West wrote for medical website Healthline.
“Unfortunately, symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency can take years to show up, and diagnosing it can be complex. A B12 deficiency can sometimes be mistaken for a folate deficiency.
“If you have glossitis, your tongue changes colour and shape, making it painful, red and swollen.
“Studies have shown that a swollen and inflamed tongue that has long straight lesions on it could be an early sign of vitamin B12 deficiency.”
The inflammation can become so severe that it looks like your taste buds have disappeared.
You might also notice a slight change to the way you speak or eat.
But just because you develop a swollen tongue, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a vitamin B12 deficiency.
Glossitis could also be caused by acid reflux, a dry mouth, a burn, or even an allergic reaction to food or medication.