Meniere’s Disease and Tinnitus

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Meniere’s disease is widely considered to be one of the most frequent causes of dizziness and vertigo, accompanied by intense, overwhelming light-headedness. It may also precede hearing loss and pressure and ringing in the ears. Although the exact cause or etiology is unknown, Meniere’s may originate from toxins collected in the cellular debris sac, located inside the ear. It may also stem from allergies, viruses, or hormonal damage to the autonomic nervous system. Symptoms can come and go with bouts of vertigo lasting from hours to days, recurring as often as every week or as infrequently as every few years. Manifestations of the disease can suggest irregular blood sugar levels, poor circulation in the ear, or problems with nerves. It is wise to check for high insulin levels or low blood sugar.

Tinnitus, or “ringing in the ears” is a condition found in the middle or inner ear. A prefacing deafness, whistling, clanging, hissing, sizzling, buzzing, or tinkling are some other symptoms described by sufferers. The number of residents in the U.S. affected by tinnitus is estimated at 37-40 million (or 30% of adults).

The etiology is not well understood, but the condition could be caused by hearing loss, exposure to loud noise, or other health problems (allergies, tumors, problems with the heart, blood vessels, head, neck or kidneys).  Side effects of medications and drug overdoses are another common cause. Drugs such as aspirin, quinine, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) have been associated with tinnitus. Other causes may be related to Meniere’s disease, otitis media (ear infections), hysteria, or impacted cerumen. Still other causes may be related to a sodium/potassium imbalance (high sodium and low potassium), caffeine, wax build-up, punctured eardrum, thyroid illness, or anemia.

Stress can be a contributing cause of tinnitus (either acute or chronic stress) that can induce a high sodium and low potassium level in the body. Coping with stress should result in a reduction of sodium and improve the problem. There is a possibility that heavy metal toxicity, particularly with lead, can be associated with tinnitus.

DIET

Food allergies should be identified/desensitized and/or eliminated. Refined carbohydrates and sugar should be eliminated. Small, frequent meals should be eaten, especially if blood sugar is abnormal (hypoglycemia).

Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.

Some of the most common food allergens associated with these hearing problems include: cow’s milk and dairy products, wheat and wheat gluten, oranges and eggs.  Other less common food allergens include beef, nuts, apples, bananas, corn, colas, sugar, yeast and mushrooms.

Strictly avoid the use of aspartame (and other artificial sweeteners), Monosodium glutamate (MSG), and sodium nitrate (a preservative in many foods). 

SUPPLEMENT PROTOCOL

Meniere’s Disease

  1. GINGKO BILOBA
    Gingko biloba is an herb that improves circulation (vasodilation) to the blood vessels in the ear canals.  Frequently, circulation may be the major problem. Dosage: 60-180 mg daily.
  2. VITAMIN B6 (PYRIDOXINE)
    Vitamin B6 is effective in relieving acute exacerbation of nerve endings that are probably impaired. Dosage: 100 mg 2-3 times a day.
  3. B-COMPLEX VITAMINS
    B-complex vitamins are important for the integrity of the nervous system. B vitamins can help the body cope with stress and relieve water retention. Dosage: 50-100 mg daily.
  4. GINGER ROOT
    Ginger root elicits an anti-inflammatory affect, and may be helpful in treating acute attacks. Dosage: 1-3 grams 3-4 times a day.
  5. VINPOCETINE
    Vinpocetine is a compound that was synthesized from the periwinkle plant. It has been found to be effective in treating Meniere’s disease and in visual impairment secondary to arteriosclerosis. Disappearance of symptoms may appear in seven days with a 50% success rate. Dosage: 30-60 mg daily.
  6. CHROMIUM
    The mineral aids in controlling blood sugar levels and stabilizing glucose. Blood sugar levels are often high in patients with Meniere’s. Dosage: 200-400 mcg daily.
  7. VITAMIN C with BIOFLAVONOIDS and VITAMIN E – these vitamins boost the immune system. Dosages: vitamin C 2,000-5,000 mg daily; vitamin E 400-800 IU daily.
  8. MANGANESE
    A deficiency may be the cause of Meniere’s. Dosage: 5 mg daily (separate from calcium).

Tinnitus

  1. GINKGO BILOBA
    Gingko biloba is an herb that improves circulation (vasodilation) to the blood vessels in the ear canals.  Frequently, circulation may be the major problem. Dosage: 60-180 mg daily.
  2. ZINC
    Zinc may improve this condition by quickening the immune response and reducing possible infection. Zinc picolinate is preferred. Dosage: 30-60 mg a day. Take with 2-4 mg copper daily.
  3. VITAMIN B12
    Vitamin B12 is effective if given intramuscularly. It is also available in lozenge, sublingual or capsule form. Dosage: 1000 mcg weekly or bi-monthly by injection. Orally: 1,000-2,000 mcg daily.
  4. VINPOCETINE
    A disappearance of tinnitus occurred in 50% of those who started supplementation within one week of trauma. Regardless of the time since the incident, 79% of patients had improved hearing and 66% had a significant decrease in the severity of tinnitus. Dosage: 30-60 mg daily.
  5. VITAMIN A
    Start with a daily dose at 50,000 IU, then gradually taper off to lower doses. Excessive vitamin A supplementation is contraindicated in patients who smoke cigarettes and have abnormal liver enzyme function.  Dosage: Maintain approximately 10,000 IU daily.
  6. COENZYME Q10
    This powerful antioxidant is critical for the effectiveness of the immune system and circulation in the ears. One study reported that the mean severity of tinnitus improved by 37% when CoQ10 levels were Improved. Dosage: 30-100 mg up to 3 times daily.
  7. POTASSIUM PHOSPHATE
    Potassium is an important mineral for ensuring a healthy nervous system and smooth transmission of nerve impulses. Increasing tissue levels of potassium may decrease elevated sodium levels that may be responsible for the tinnitus problem. Dosage: 99 mg 1-2 times a day.
  8. VITAMIN C with BIOFLAVONOIDS and VITAMIN E
    These antioxidant vitamins that boost the immune system and are needed vitamins to aid in the prevention of ear infections. Dosage: Vitamin C 2,000-5,000 mg daily; Vitamin E 400-800 IU daily.
  9. MAGNESIUM
    This mineral relaxes muscles and helps prevent damage to hair cells inside the ear. Dosage: 500-1,000 mg daily.
  10. MANGANESE
    In certain cases a deficiency of manganese may be a cause of Meniere’s or tinnitus. Dosage: 5-10 mg a day.
  11. ECHINACEA
    Echinacea aids poor equilibrium and reduces dizziness. It also helps fight infection and helps reduce congestion. Dosage: As directed on package.

 

ARL Analytical Research Labs, Data from Hair Analysis. Phoenix, AZ. 85021.

Balch, JF, Balch PA. Prescription for Nutritional Healing- 3rd edition. Penguin Putman Inc. New York, NY. 2000.

Gaby, AR, Wright, JV. Nutritional Therapy in Medical Practice. Lecture notes, Oct 1996. Seattle, WA.

Gaby, AR. Literature Review and Commentary. Townsend Letter #287. June 2007. P. 50.

Marion, JB. Anti Aging Manual. Information Pioneers, S. Woodstock, CT. 1996.

McDermott, W., Beeson, P. Textbook of Medicine, 14th edition. W.B. Saunders Co., Philadelphia, 1975.

Tinnitis: When the Ears Ring, U.S. Pharmacist, June 2005. 30(6): 21-22.

Vinpocetine, Alternative Medicine Review Monograph, June 2002. 7(3): 240-244.

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