healthy lifestyle management

What is the Tongue and Heart Health Connection?

What is the Tongue and Heart Health Connection?

In the ever-evolving landscape of cardiac health, a recent breakthrough study, presented at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC), has uncovered a revelation that can change countless lives which is about the tongue – a surprising indicator for the worsening of heart health. Led by scientists and doctors, this research has shed light on another way to potentially identify chronic heart failure through a simple examination of the tongue.

Understanding the Relationship between the Tongue and Heart Health

According to the study, the color and appearance of the tongue can offer valuable insights into a person’ heart health. While a healthy individual will have a pale red tongue with a light white coating, a person suffering from chronic heart failure will showcase a redder tongue with a yellow coating. The levels of intensity of color change of the tongue may indicate the extent to which the disease has progressed.

How Microbial markers Indicate heart disease

When we dive deeper into the study’s findings, the researchers discovered that only does the colour of the tongue differ, but the composition, quantity, and dominant bacteria present on the tongue coating also vary between healthy people and those with heart failure. The difference in the microbial presence shows that this can be a potential marker for heart conditions.

Pancreatic Cancer and Tongue Health

And this isn’t the first time where researchers have explored the link between tongue coatings and disease. In a separate study focused on examining tongue coatings, it revealed a breakthrough in medical science about how tongue coatings can be distinguished between patients with cancer and those without. The research suggested that imbalances in tongue bacteria seems to be contributing to inflammation and disease, two important factors that also plays a significant role in heart failure.

Groundbreaking Findings of The Yuan-Led Study

In the study led by Tianhui Yuan, PhD of Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, the researchers observed that the 42 hospitalized patients with chronic heart failure and 28 healthy individuals were examined. Notably, the criteria included the absence of oral, tongue, or dental diseases, recent upper respiratory tract infections, antibiotic or immunosuppressant us, and pregnancy or lactation.

In order to identify the bacteria present, the researchers used a 16S rRNA gene sequencing, collected samples using stainless steel spoons before the subjects had their breakfast or brushed their teeth. The study’s findings showed five distinct categories of bacteria that effectively distinguished heart failure patients from healthy individuals.

How the Findings Help in Clinical Application

While further studies are definitely needed, Yuan’s study shows the important role of understanding the connection between microorganisms and heart function. The easy way of getting tongue microbial samples will definitely lead to wide-scale screening, diagnosis, and long-term monitoring of heart failure. Therefore, this study can lead to a life saving screening for countless individuals who are unknowing of their heart condition.


When it comes to healthcare where early detection is the best way to control and manage the outcome of the disease, the tongue emerges as an unexpected ally. As we continue to discover the intricate relationship between our bodies and the microbial communities, the high potential of tongue examinations, which are non-invasive and an accessible diagnostic tool, becomes increasingly promising. The road ahead is to have more research in the tongue’s ability to provide us with relevant and life-changing information about our heart health which can revolutionize how we approach cardiac health.

Therefore, even the smallest details can often make the biggest impact on our overall well-being.