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Food supplements

BMJ Group Medical Reference

We've looked at the research on two food supplements for burning mouth syndrome.

Alpha-lipoic acid (sometimes called ALA) is a food supplement you can buy from health food shops and some pharmacies. There is a theory that it protects your nervous system, which is why it was tested for burning mouth syndrome. [24]

Three small studies found that taking alpha-lipoic acid might help some people with burning mouth syndrome. [25] [26] [27] But the studies weren't good quality, so the results aren't reliable.

Two more recent studies were better quality. They found that taking alpha-lipoic acid on its own or with a multivitamin worked no better than a dummy treatment (a placebo). [28] [29]

Oryzanol is a food supplement made from rice bran oil, which is used for burning mouth syndrome in China. But we didn't find any good evidence that oryzanol works. One study found that taking hormone replacement therapy worked better, but there were problems with the quality of this research. [30]



A placebo is a 'pretend' or dummy treatment that contains no active substances. A placebo is often given to half the people taking part in medical research trials, for comparison with the 'real' treatment. It is made to look and taste identical to the drug treatment being tested, so that people in the studies do not know if they are getting the placebo or the 'real' treatment. Researchers often talk about the 'placebo effect'. This is where patients feel better after having a placebo treatment because they expect to feel better. Tests may indicate that they actually are better. In the same way, people can also get side effects after having a placebo treatment. Drug treatments can also have a 'placebo effect'. This is why, to get a true picture of how well a drug works, it is important to compare it against a placebo treatment.

For more terms related to Burning mouth syndrome


For references related to Burning mouth syndrome click here.
Last Updated: June 20, 2012
This information does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned you might have a medical problem please ask your Boots pharmacy team in your local Boots store, or see your doctor.

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