White Yellow Tongue

The tongue becomes white or yellow during fasting. This occurrence is almost universal to all faster past the 3 day mark and often starts on day one. Some have stated that this discoloration is due to the excretion toxins which is presently unproven. The research suggest that the discoloration is an anaerobic bacterial build up due to increased protein and sulfur compounds in the tongue.

The main food of anaerobic bacteria is protein which may mean that when the tongue discolors due to fasting there is an excess protein being expelled from the tongue more than what you get from eating Big Macs and steak and eggs.

The upper surface of the tongue is covered in papillae and taste buds. Below the papillae are the mucous membranes (or mucosae; singular mucosa) which are involved in absorption and secretion.

So now comes to the big question. What are the mucous membranes secreting during a fast that increase anaerobic bacterial activity.

A team of Chinese researchers who were studying the coating on the tongue, found 13 proteins closely related to tongue coating, among which cystatin B, cytokeratin 13 and GAL7 protein were found for first time, which were closely related to the changes of tongue coating. Furthermore, there were 5 new proteins identified, which have not been recorded in the international Protein Data Bank till today, of which the biological effect needs to be further explored.

Full Research

This research was not done on fasting subjects but it is clear that the tongue is normally secreting 13 proteins and the fasting state may possibly increase the secretion of these proteins.

The tongue is considered an organ off elimination by many raw food groups, herbalists and other holistic health practitioners. They consider that during a detoxification the body uses every avenue possible to rid itself of toxins including the tongue and the logic is back by common experience, such as a white tongue during periods of illness.

My question that I cannot find an answer for is what is being eliminated.

Candida Factor

Candida is white and has been found on the tongue. When Candida albicans thrives on the tongue, this is called oral “thrush.” One person stated, “My gut problems and white tongue were exacerbated AFTER starting the “anti candida” diet.” This implies that killing Candida causes the tongue to become white. The fasting state especially water fasting decreases blood sugar and immune system activity. A white tongue during fast could be in-relation to candida death.

Solutions For a Coated Tongue

One of the problems caused by an increase in mouth bacteria is cankers. There for during fasting is it is very important to brush your tongue use dental floss or a water pic and a mouth was a few times per day to prevent cankers.

All Ideas and theories are welcome. Just comment on this page.

Posted on by Tom Coghill

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7 Responses to White Yellow Tongue

  1. meredith says:

    Hello Tom,

    For several years now, I have had a yellow-coated tongue. I scrape my tongue every day, and have done that for years as well. When I fasted last year for two weeks, it turned primarily white; however, once I came off the fast, it went back to yellow. It waxes and wanes, but has never gone away completely. One doctor that I talked to suggested that perhaps it was related to estrogen issues, though to be honest I don’t recall exactly how (I am probably estrogen dominant). It has faded significantly before–once, the day after my period ended, and then came back a couple of days later–but I can’t claim that it wasn’t coincidence.
    I generally eat fruits and vegetables, and am about 40% raw, but I’m not vegan or even vegetarian. I have not noticed a great deal of difference when I have been eating meat or not, but to be fair, I haven’t been checking closely or regularly for a while now.
    Anyway, just thought I’d share my own experience. It’s a little gross, but after years of having it with no obvious cause, cure, or blatantly harmful effect, I’ve just been waiting to see if anybody else can figure it out!
    Other info that might be interesting to someone:
    I have Graves’ thyroiditis (in remission), and Graves’ ophthalmopathy(not so lucky there). My sinuses are generally irritated, probably in part due to my almost perpetual watery eyes, so a lot of mucus probably finds its way into my mouth. Perhaps that is feeding the bacteria on my tongue. Anyway, hope someone finds this useful! And if anyone has any ideas, I’d love to hear them too!

    • Tom Coghill says:
      Tom Coghill

      Hi meredith
      Have you ever been checked for candida? Or see if you have the symptoms of candida. Did your condition deteriorate with and location change.
      I live by a highway and my health deteriorated in 3 months on a healthy diet. I moved and recovered.
      I was trying to find the difference between yellow and white coating. The tongue indicates the health of the body from what I can see. When I eat good my tongue is pink. Eat too much cooked foods and it goes white. If you want to try some ideas, we can see if there are any results. I would try one week of just raw and chew your food. I have a hunch that the tongue is secreting Glycoprotein as a protective agent due to fermentation due to poor digestion. Why this increase during fasting is another research job. See if you see some changes in 3 days. Include papaya and pineapple in salads.
      Sodium Bicabonate,

      • meredith says:

        Thanks for the ideas, Tom.
        I have never been checked for candida, but I don’t really have much in the way of symptoms for it. I generally feel quite healthy except for my eye problems. The tongue has had the yellow coating for a really long time, through all sorts of changes in location, situation, emotional health, etc. It’s been a constant in a life full of changes (most good!). When I came off my 2-week fast last year, I ate all raw for several weeks. Tongue was still yellow. During the fast, it turned more white than yellow–volume didn’t change noticeably. For a while previous to my fast I took bromelain (I assume that’s what the papaya and pineapple would be for?) at night to counter inflammation from my Graves’ disease, but I didn’t really look to see what the effect was on my tongue. Perhaps I’ll try it again. Sorry, I hate pineapple! 🙂
        You started to write something about Sodium Bicarb, but it got cut off. Could you repeat?

  2. ladywendolyn says:

    Hi Tom,

    I would like to thank you for the amazing way you have fulfilled God,s call to teach on this subject. The Chistian is encouraged to fast in the bible, but in their is a terrible ignorance on how to fast from a health perspective.
    Fifteen years ago I went on a 21 day water fast, with no understanding of how to protect my health. As a result my electolites / salts became depleted, my kidneys failed, I lost my eyesight temporarily, my hair fell out, and my hemoglobin became so low that I was sick for several years. When I returned from the doctor having been told to consume salted broth… I swelled up like a balloon.

    So because of this, I was always hesitant to fast. Then last year I found this signet and successfully completed by following your recommendations a ten day water fast.
    Now A year later I am starting a three week juice fast.
    I fast for primarily spiritual reasons so that I can take a season to fast and pray, but I am so thankful for your wisdom and the info on this site. I have recommended your site to many people and only wish that you would publish your books in hard copy because there is a sorry lack of info avail on the shelves of the Christian books stores, as my story attests.

    Many blessings to you as you continue to be used by God to save and transform lives.
    Lady Wendolyn

    • Tom Coghill says:
      Tom Coghill

      Hi Lady Wendolyn,
      Is it is so sad that what could have been a wonderful experience became harmful to the body. Long water fasts be done without any damage but the body needs excellent nutritional reserves. To me a few cups of fresh juice along the way saves all of these problems. Christian try to do what Christ did but that is insane, we are living in a world filled with toxin and depleted foods. Thank you for the appreciation. I have been bless due to my commitment to this calling. Any prayer would be a boost.

  3. lauger says:

    Today I used a hyro floss / water pic for my teeth and on my tounge cleared up to to point when I used the tounge scraper there was no white chalky residue on the scraper I know it will not last but it did help