Is a Tingling Tongue a Symptom of Vitamin Deficiency

Erin Coleman, R.D., L.D.
Checking mouth

According to a 2014 review in the Journal of Pharmacy and BioAllied Sciences, a tingling tongue along with burning sensations, tenderness, or numbness, is a symptom associated with a condition called burning mouth syndrome. Being deficient in certain vitamins, especially vitamin B12, can cause sensory changes in your tongue because this vitamin is crucial for proper neurologic (nerves and nervous system) function.

Deficiencies Associated With Tingling Tongue

Several vitamin deficiencies can lead to burning mouth syndrome, leaving a feeling of burning or tingling in the tongue, according to Mayo Clinic.

Vitamin B12

This vitamin is found in fortified breakfast cereals, fish, seafood, meat, dairy foods, and eggs. The vitamin B12 recommended dietary allowance (RDA) is 2.4 micrograms for adults, 2.6 micrograms during pregnancy, and 2.8 micrograms while breastfeeding.

Vitamin B6

This vitamin is present in beef, poultry, fish, legumes, whole grains, fortified breakfast cereals, nuts, and some fruits and veggies. Vitamin B6 RDAs for adults are 1.3 to 2.0 milligrams daily depending on age and gender.

Vitamin B1

Also known as thiamin, this vitamin is abundant in breakfast cereals, whole grains, meats, fish, legumes, nuts, eggs, and dairy foods. The RDA for thiamin is 1.1 to 1.4 milligrams daily depending on age and gender.

Vitamin B2

Also called riboflavin, this vitamin is found in dairy foods, grains, breakfast cereals, meats, fish, nuts, eggs, vegetables, and legumes. Riboflavin RDAs are 1.1 to 1.6 milligrams daily for adults.

Folic Acid

This vitamin is present in leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits, legumes, fortified breakfast cereals, and enriched grains. Folic acid RDAs are 400 to 600 micrograms daily for adults.

Zinc

This mineral is abundant in meat, poultry, seafood, dairy foods, legumes, nuts, and fortified breakfast cereals. Zinc RDAs for adults are 8 to 12 milligrams daily.

Iron

This mineral is found in meats, fish, seafood, legumes, tofu, spinach, eggs, and fortified breakfast cereals. Iron RDAs for adults are 8 milligrams, 9 milligrams for nursing women, 18 milligrams for women ages 19 to 50, and 27 milligrams daily during pregnancy.

Correcting Nutrient Deficiencies

If nutrient deficiencies are causing your tongue to tingle, take vitamin supplements to help correct the problem. Talk to your doctor about nutrients you're deficient in to determine which supplements are the most beneficial for you. Or, take a multivitamin supplement containing all essential vitamins and minerals. If you're deficient in nutrients due to poor absorption, your doctor may recommend vitamin injections or high doses of oral supplements.

Other Causes of Tingling Tongue

If you're experiencing tingling tongue, it's important to find out why, as nutrient deficiencies aren't the only culprit. Other causes of tingling tongue and burning mouth syndrome include:

  • Certain medications
  • Dry mouth
  • Fungal and other infections in mouth, such as yeast infections
  • Allergic reactions to dental products or foods
  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid disorders (hypothyroidism)
  • Menopause
  • Radiation therapy
  • Overuse of toothpastes or mouthwashes
  • Nerve damage from dental work or surgery

Tingling Tongue Treatment

Treating underlying medical conditions that cause burning mouth syndrome and tingling tongue can help you ease tongue discomfort for good. If your medication is the culprit, ask your doctor about switching to something with fewer side effects. Make sure you're getting plenty of B vitamins, iron, and zinc by eating a well-balanced diet and take a multivitamin supplement to prevent deficiency-related tingling tongue.

Is a Tingling Tongue a Symptom of Vitamin Deficiency