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Vitamin D deficiency: The feeling in your tongue that could signal dangerously low levels

This Morning: Dr Chris discusses vitamin D and Covid

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Research has repeatedly demonstrated the benefits of Vitamin D for the immune system, and other essential bodily functions. The fat-soluble compound is dubbed the ‘sunshine nutrient’ because it is produced in the skin through the action of sunlight. It is believed more than one in five Britons do not have enough of the vitamin in their bodies, which could set the stage for a number of illnesses. However, the early impetus to make lifestyle changes could help ward off the complications associated with vitamin D deficiencies. One sign on the tongue could help identify the deficiency in its early stages.

Burning tongue syndrome is linked to a variety of different vitamin and mineral deficiencies, notably vitamin D, vitamin B, iron and zinc.

The condition can perturb patients for years, with few treatments able to relieve symptoms unless the root cause is tackled efficiently. 

The condition is characterised by a variety of symptoms that will vary widely from patient to patient. 

As the name insinuates, the most common sign associated with the condition is burning pain.

READ MORE: Vitamin D deficiency diet: Four foods you MUST eat this autumn to avoid symptoms

This burning pain or hot sensation is typically located on the lips or tongue, or more widespread in the mouth. 

It can also be accompanied by other symptoms including numbness, dryness and an unpleasant taste. 

The condition can have a detrimental effect on the day to day life of those it affects, especially during meal times.

If any abnormalities are found during a clinical examination, clinicians will aim to treat the underlying cause to help alleviate symptoms. 

One study found that administering vitamin D supplementation to patients with burning mouth syndrome helped clear symptoms in the space of just two weeks.

While most people associate vitamin D to bone health, almost every part of the body has receptors for the vitamin. 

It has also been shown to protect against viral infections of the upper respiratory tract, diabetes and some cancers. 

In fact, some recent studies have also shown that taking vitamin D may prevent the risk of cancer by up to 38 percent.

The NHS usually recommends that everyone takes vitamin D supplements during the autumn and winter months, when people are likely to get less exposure to the sun. 

During the months when sunlight is scarce, vitamin D has to come from food, such as eggs, mushrooms and oily fish. 

Supplements are sometimes considered for some people with significant deficiencies. 

It is believed that more than one in five Britons do not have enough of the essential vitamin in their bodies.

What’s more, figures suggest that vitamin D deficiency in the UK, is higher than many other European countries, with the exception of Germany and Ireland. 

A report last year suggested that lockdown, which saw millions of Britons deprived of sunlight, could have caused vitamin D levels to plunge further. 

The 2020 report stated: “It has been suggested that low levels of vitamin D – endemic within the UK, exacerbated during the UK – may contribute to susceptibility to COVID-19.

“Given the protective effects of vitamin D against respiratory tract infections and wider health benefits, the government should consider how to encourage the use of vitamin D this winter, particularly in vulnerable and low socioeconomic groups.”

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