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Possible causes: B-vitamin deficiency and possible gastrointestinal (GI) issues

While a smooth red tongue might seem normal, it can indicate an inflammatory condition called glossitis. When the tongue is so smooth that you can’t see your taste buds, Stone says, “that’s classically associated with a B12 deficiency. But other nutrients, including some of the other B vitamins, as well as zinc, can play a role, too.”

What you can do: In addition to adding a good multivitamin to your diet (which is essential for every condition mentioned here), eat more whole foods rich in B vitamins and zinc, like grassfed beef, oysters, and organ meats, and look for high-quality B and zinc supplements. Know that B12 deficiency can contribute to a host of health issues, including depression. (For more on this, see “All About B Vitamins”.)

Also, be on the lookout for GI issues related to nutrient absorption like low stomach acid, says Fry. Bloating, belching, or burning sensations immediately after meals are signs of low stomach acid, which can also lead to protein deficiency.

“Often there are absorption issues at play with GI issues, and some nutrient deficiencies might be showing up on the tongue,” Fry explains. She routinely examines the tongues of patients she treats for GI complaints because symptoms like glossitis often clear up as people start to absorb more nutrients.

This was excerpted from “What Your Body Is Trying to Tell You, Part 2” which was published in the April 2016 issue of Experience Life.

Anjula Razdan

Anjula Razdan is Experience Life‘s digital director.

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