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Sore Tongue and Vitamin B

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Dear Intuitive Times,

I was to the dentist the other day, after my cleaning we were talking and I asked him about why my tongue was so sore. He looked at it and said I could be deficient in vitamin B. What I would like to know is what food has vitamin B and how I would get deficient in it? Is there something I may be doing that takes the vitamin B out of my system? I will see my doctor but I would like further opinions please.
Kathrine, Nelson, B. C.

Response by Duane Murphy, RNC in Halifax, NS:

First of all Vitamin B is not one single Vitamin but is actually a group of Vitamins known as B Complex. These include vitamins - vitamin B1(thianiine), vitamin B2(riboflavin), niacin, vitamin B6 (pyrodoxine), folacin(folic acid), vitamin B 12 (cobalamine), biotin and pantothenic acid as well as choline, inositol and PABA (paraaminobenzoicacid). These vitamins are water soluble meaning they only stay in the body for a short period of time - two to four days.

Utilization of water soluble vitamins begins the minute they are absorbed through your digestive system. Thus these nutrients need to be replaced regularly. They should be provided in our diets daily.

The B vitamins are utilized as coenzymes - components of enzymes - in almost all parts of the body. They are essential for maintaining healthy nerves, skin, hair, eyes, liver, and mouth. They also give us energy, as they are necessary for the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Any stress on the body will automatically increase our requirements for nutrients, especially B vitamins.

There are many food sources for B vitamins in our food. The B vitamins are most plentiful in whole grains such as wheat, rice, oats and rye; and in liver. They are also found in green leafy vegetables, meats, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts and beans.

Deficiency of nutrients can be caused by not supplying them in our diets or supplying them but not absorbing them. As mentioned earlier absorption takes place through the digestive system. Anything that can hinder digestion can interfere with the absorption of nutrients (vitamins and minerals). We must complete digestion in order to absorb nutrients from our food and supplements. Consumption of refined processed foods, alcohol, coffee, caffeine, colas and drugs can all interfere with digestion and absorption of B vitamins as well as other essential nutrients. A diet high in refined, processed foods will be void of these essential vitamins. In the refining process many nutrients are stripped and only partially replaced through "enrichment".

Supplementation has become popular in recent years. Supplements are not meant to replace sound nutrition. B vitamins work together not alone. As part of a balanced diet of whole natural foods, and avoidance of refined, processed foods, a good quality B complex supplement may help fill in the gaps.

J. Dwayne Murphy is a Registered Nutritional Consulting Practitioner (RNCP) and Certified Nutritional Microscopist with a BASc in Holistic Nutrition.

Response by Dr. David Rowland, MBA, PhD (Nutr), RNC; Co-publisher of Health Naturally, Canada's Self-Health Care Magazine until 1999 and a past President of the (NCOC) Nutritional Consultants Organization of Canada 1983 - 1988, author of 22 books and many articles:

There is an entire family of B-vitamins that affect the health of the tongue -- including vitamin B-2, niacin/ niacinamide, vitamin B-12, biotin, and folic acid.

Generally, this B-complex family of vitamins can be found in such foods as liver, kidney, brewer's yeast, leafy green vegetables, fish, eggs, almonds, nuts, poultry, wheat germ, and 100% whole grains.

Individual requirements for B-vitamins vary significantly from person to person. If one's diet is adequate in the above foods and a sore tongue still persists, it would be wise to supplement with a B-complex vitamin supplement. The B-vitamins are water soluble and pose no hazard to the body if they are supplied in balanced amounts (such as in a B-50 complex tablet). "

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