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Nutrition & Healing - Ringing in the Ears (Tinnitus)

By Dr. Jonathan V. Wright

Ringing in the ears (tinnitus) is said to have no known cause. It's known to occur more frequently in those who've had considerable noise exposure and in older age groups. Some research has connected tinnitus with a tendency to higher cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Even though you and I may not know what causes ringing in the ears, there's some chance of lessening it or even eliminating it by adopting dietary measures, taking supplemental vitamins and minerals, at least one herbal remedy and having acupuncture treatment.

Diet changes include drastically cutting back or eliminating refined sugar and saturated fat. These changes can help to reduce the serum triglycerides and cholesterol over several months time and tinnitus is sometimes reduced along with them.

If you know you have allergies but aren't paying strict attention, you might consider giving allergy control a try. Some of the people I work with have told me that allergy control, especially food allergy control, helps to reduce the ringing, 

If you have tinnitus, you definitely should try ginkgo, an herbal remedy which, among other things, has been shown to improve small blood vessel circulation in the brain and to improve oxygen and blood sugar use by nerve cells. Perhaps for these reasons, ginkgo can often reduce tinnitus. It takes several months to tell if it's helping, though. Unless you're allergic to ginkgo, there's very little risk. Try using 40 milligrams of a standardized extract (24%), three times a day.

Zinc can reduce ringing in the ears. To start, I usually recommend zinc picolinate, 30 milligrams, twice daily. Zinc takes several months to help, at that time it's best to reduce the quantity to once a day and find a doctor knowledgeable and skilled in nutritional medicine to help you check on your zinc-copper balance.

Sometimes injections of vitamin B12 taken two or three times weekly can reduce tinnitus. Once again, it takes weeks to months to tell if it's working. Unfortunately, taking vitamin B12 by mouth doesn't help nearly as often, but it can't hurt to try. When taking vitamin Bl2, it's wisest to "balance'' it with folic acid.

Vitamin A can reduce tinnitus. For adults, I usually recommend 50,000 units daily for 30 days, then 25,000 units daily. However, since this is vitamin A and not beta-carotene, it's wisest to use it under the supervision of a physician skilled and knowledgeable in nutritional therapy.

Remember, individual nutrients should be taken along with a good general vitamin-mineral supplement.

Lastly, I've referred many people with tinnitus to acupuncture therapists. Enough of these folks have told me it helps, so I continue making referrals. There is currently no "mainstream" medical treatment for ringing in the ears.

Because of differences in age, sex, metabolism, or potential allergy, these diet and supplement therapies may not be suitable for you. Consult a health care professional skilled in nutritional and natural therapies. To locate one near you, you might call the American College of Advancement in Medicine at 800-532-3688 or the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians at 206-323-7610.


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