What nutrient cures tinnitus?
What nutrient cures tinnitus?
My father developed tinnitus 10 years ago in his early 60s. He tries to ignore the constant buzzing noise, but sometimes it interferes with his sleep and affects his mood. What would you suggest?
Vitamin B12 is one of the most effective natural remedies I have come across for tinnitus. Your father will need to take a therapeutic dosage of 2000mcg daily to reduce or eliminate the buzzing and ringing sensation in his ears.
Research has shown that most tinnitus sufferers are deficient in vitamin B12. This nutrient can be found in dairy products, meat, and eggs, but it makes more sense to choose a supplement of 1,000mcg strength and take two daily for an accurate therapeutic dose. Vitamin B12 is crucial for the production and maintenance of the myelin sheaths, which protect the nerve cells of the inner ear.
It is also worth noting that aspirin, quinine (found in tonic water), caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol tend to make tinnitus symptoms more pronounced.
While tinnitus often occurs due to working with or around loud machinery, musical instruments, or other equipment, it can also develop as a side effect of certain illnesses. It might be wise to rule out any underlying disorders such as chronic ear infection, acoustic neuroma, or Ménière’s disease — all of which require appropriate medical treatment.
The sensation of a sound in the ear or head for which there is no external source can be deeply frustrating, especially when it disrupts your sleep. It is important to reduce your exposure to loud noises — perhaps having earplugs on hand in case they are needed.
I have been diagnosed with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). Is there a probiotic you could recommend, and when is the optimal time to take it? Some people advise taking it after a meal or last thing at night.
SIBO is often linked with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and leaky gut. Common symptoms include diarrhoea, gas and bloating, abdominal pain or tenderness, flatulence, cramping, and a heavy feeling in the abdomen.
Many people find relief in following either an autoimmune protocol diet (AIP) or a Low FODMAP diet. There is a wealth of information on the internet about both dietary approaches. However, before you make any changes to your diet, it is essential to contact a registered dietitian or your GP.
AIP is intended for short-term use and helps to reduce inflammation and repair the gut. A Low FODMAP diet is based on reducing specific types of carbohydrates that can cause digestion and absorption issues and typically involves a longer-term change in dietary choices.
Dietary changes can bring relief from SIBO symptoms and help while you take other steps to heal your intestinal tract.
Once you start to improve, slowly introduce gentle probiotic beverages such as water kefir before moving on to other fermented vegetables and drinks to support your gut flora.
Body Ecology has developed a GI Distress Relief formula, which includes four probiotic strains of bifidobacteria to help tone the gut barrier and support immune health. It is also worth considering its EcoPhage, which contains bacteriophages to eliminate pathogens and clean up your gut. Check for availability in your local health store.
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- NOTE: The information contained in this column is not a substitute for medical advice. Always consult a doctor.
Tinnitus, food and drink
If you have done an internet search for tinnitus you will have found many results claiming a link with particular foods – both good and bad. Some people with tinnitus do feel that what they consume affects their condition and make changes to their diet in order to manage this.
Here, we look at some of the common factors so you can decide what is right for you. Eliminating food and drink from your diet to identify a link can be a difficult process. This page also looks at the pros and cons of this approach.
A number of people connect the ups and downs of their tinnitus with eating certain foods. However, many other people find that these same substances have no effect upon their tinnitus.
There is some weak evidence that dietary factors can have an influence on Ménière’s disease , a condition of the inner ear. But this is generally with regard to the dizziness of Ménière’s rather than the tinnitus.
For all other types of tinnitus, the links are unproven and the research presents some contradictory findings. Many of the links seem to show only a minor change in risk, so it seems likely that general diet is not a major contributor to tinnitus.
Instead, follow a balanced diet which promotes good general health.
Despite the lack of evidence of universal triggers, we do recognise that some people notice a link between certain foods and their tinnitus.
Unfortunately, there is no simple test to prove such reactions. As with other types of food intolerance, the only way to investigate this is to perform a trial elimination diet. This involves completely removing the suspected food type from your diet for 2-6 weeks. And then reintroducing it to see if your tinnitus is affected.
There are some problems associated with this approach. Firstly, going on an elimination diet can mean that you monitor your tinnitus more closely than normal, particularly during the reintroduction phase. This can make the tinnitus seem louder. Secondly, excluding food groups can be dangerous and should only be done after discussion with your GP and/or a dietician. Finally, removing items of food that were previously enjoyed can add to the overall burden of tinnitus.
We understand that you may be searching for something you can do to ease your tinnitus. It is natural to be looking for a way to control it. Our Tinnitus Support Team cannot offer medical advice but are available to listen and support you when needed.
Tinnitus and dietary supplements
The dietary supplement industry is a huge global business, and research has shown that around a quarter of people with tinnitus used dietary supplements such as vitamins, minerals and herbal medicines in an attempt to treat their tinnitus.
However, for most people with tinnitus there is no research evidence to suggest that dietary supplements have any effect. There is some weak evidence to suggest that people who have a vitamin or mineral deficiency may benefit from having the deficiency corrected. If you do not have a deficiency, there is no proven benefit from taking supplements.
If you think you may have a deficiency, discuss this with your GP as there are often simple tests to prove or disprove this.
People with tinnitus are frequently advised to avoid drinks containing caffeine such as tea and coffee. There is no scientific basis for this advice. Several large scientific reviews have shown that caffeine is not associated with the causes of tinnitus.
The sensible advice regarding tea or coffee drinking therefore seems to be maintain a moderate and constant intake.
If you are worried about your caffeine intake and want to cut it out of your diet, remember that this can produce side effects, particularly headaches and nausea, which could potentially worsen your tinnitus.
People with tinnitus often ask us if they should stop drinking alcohol. Red wine is especially reported as a concern.
Once again, there seems little hard evidence for this. Multiple research projects have been published regarding alcohol and tinnitus and the consensus is that alcohol is not a risk factor for tinnitus.
This does not, of course, rule out the possibility that you might have a personal response to alcohol. As with foods, a trial withdrawal and reintroduction may help to establish whether alcohol is related to your level of tinnitus.
Some people find that alcohol actually helps their tinnitus. To maintain good health, we should all keep our alcohol consumption within safe limits. The government advises that this means not drinking more than 14 units of alcohol per week. This is equivalent to:
- 6 175ml glasses of 13% wine per week or
- 6 pints of 4% beer or lager per week or
- 5 pints of 4.5% cider per week or
- 14 25ml measures of 40% spirits per week
The guidelines are the same for men and women.
It has been known for some time that tobacco smoking can contribute to inner ear hearing loss. There is now a substantial body of research showing that smoking is also a risk factor for developing tinnitus.
How we can help
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Can B12 Relieve Your Tinnitus?
Eating well and getting enough vitamins and minerals can help improve your overall health. Researchers from Era Lucknow Medical College were interested in the benefits from one specific vitamin—B12. With a small pilot study, they looked to see if this vitamin held the key to tinnitus treatment.
Benefits of B12
B12, also known as Cobalamin, is a vitamin your body needs to stay healthy. Since it is not naturally produced by your body, you must get it from your food, including dairy products, eggs, fish, meat and poultry.
Your body needs B12 for red blood cell formation and DNA synthesis. In addition to keeping your nerve cells functioning normal, B12 can help boost your energy, improve your memory and prevent heart disease.
Treating Chronic Tinnitus with B12
Through a randomized double-blind pilot study, researchers hoped to determine the role B12 plays in the treatment of chronic tinnitus.
A total of 40 participants between the ages of 16-60 with chronic subjective tinnitus were enrolled. In order to be considered chronic, the sensation of hearing a ringing in the ear must be frequent and severe, with symptoms lasting for more than six months.
Participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups. Group A received parenteral intramuscular therapy of 1 ml Vitamin B12 every week for a six-week period. Group B received a placebo injection of saline on the same weekly schedule.
Prior to treatment, all participants completed:
- Pure tone hearing test
- Pitch and loudness tinnitus matching
- Vitamin B12 level test
- Self-report tinnitus severity questionnaire
- Physical exam
- Medical history review
One month following the study these tests were repeated.
Pilot Study Results
The researchers found that 42.5% of participants had a B12 deficiency, which was a significantly high prevalence. The patients in Group A with a B12 deficiency showed improvement in their tinnitus severity index scores following treatment. Unfortunately, there was no improvement in the treatment group participants who did not have a vitamin deficiency.
The results of this pilot study, which were published in Noise & Health, a bimonthly international journal, show a favorable outcome of vitamin B12 therapy in vitamin deficient subjects.
Even though this is only a pilot study, it is encouraging to see research to discover new treatments for tinnitus. To learn more about treating your tinnitus or to schedule an appointment with an expert, contact Victory Hearing & Balance Center today.
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