The Right Nutrients can Prevent Hearing Loss

Here is an article contributed by John O’Connor a guest blogger
The Right Nutrients Can Help Prevent Hearing Loss

More than 28 million Americans are affected by hearing loss. Nutrition plays an important role in preventing hearing loss due to aging, as well as in helping to reverse noise-induced hearing loss. While hearing aids can help those with hearing loss navigate through a world full of sound, the right nutrients can improve hearing loss altogether. The following list of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants are particularly effective at helping to promote hearing health.

Vitamin A

A deficiency of Vitamin A increases your susceptibility to noise and decrease your sensory functions. In addition to helping prevent hearing loss due to these factors, Vitamin A has proven effective in helping to improve hearing loss.

Vitamin B Complex

The B vitamins help reduce ear pressure and keep the ear functioning properly. Among the ear-healthy B vitamins are B-2 (Riboflavin), which improve oxygen flow in the hearing cells; B-3 (Niacin), which increase circulation to hearing cell nerves; and B-6, which helps regulate the fluid in the ears. In the elderly, B-12 and folate deficiencies are a major culprit in hearing loss, affecting the vascular and nervous systems that are associated with hearing.

Vitamin C, D, E

Vitamin C protects the cochlear hair cells and can reverse some of the damage to hearing caused by noise exposure. Lack of Vitamin D can cause abnormal bone growth in the middle ear. Vitamin D is particularly helpful for improving cochlear deafness. A powerful antioxidant, Vitamin E can help improve sudden hearing loss and prevents damage done to the ear by free radicals.

Copper, Zinc, Iodine and Magnesium

Copper and zinc help preserve the cochlear hair cells, whose vibrations help move sound along. Iodine helps prevent cochlear lesions and changes in the middle ear due to aging. Magnesium helps protect the arterial lining and the hair cells of the inner ear.

N-acetyl cysteine, arginine and methionine

These amino acids have been shown by research to significantly improve hearing loss due to ear damage. Damage done to the ear by excessive noise is greatly reduced with n-acetyl cysteine, and arginine and methionine protect against sensorineural hearing loss and cochlear damage.

Alpha lipoic acid and co-enzyme Q10

These antioxidants are powerful defenses against hearing loss. Alpha lipoic acid is instrumental in generating mitochondria in the inner ear hair cells. Co-enzyme Q10 is especially helpful for those with progressive hearing loss associated with diabetes.

General Nutrition

Take good care of your hearing health by making healthy lifestyle choices and eating foods that are full of the proper nutrients. Research shows that this kind of diet slows the aging process, promotes longevity and protects against a number of diseases and conditions, including hearing loss.

If you have concerns about your lifestyle and whether you’re getting the nutrients you need, make an appointment with a Certified Nutrition Specialist or Registered Dietitian, who can help you map out a plan that’s right for you.

Personalized nutrition webinar

Good overview of Molecular Nutrition and Personalized Nutrition from one of the leaders of the European Food Information Council (EUFIC)

Food to share

Great idea to share your healthy food with others. Lauren Walters is co-founder and CEO of Two Degrees Food, a company with a smart idea of sharing healthy food bars. She will speak at the Aspen Institute Ideas Festival this year.

Your Plate

What size plate? What about combined foods like spaghetti with meat and tomato sauce? These are my first thoughts as I look at the new simple graphic for “My Plate” display for our food guidance unveiled this week by USDA. I think it is an improvement on the pyramid and perhaps the personalized and interactive nature of the approach will be helpful.

Anxiety and Anorexia

New understanding into why anorexics don’t want to eat even when they are starving themselves has been uncovered by researchers at UC San Diego
Instead of feeling good when they eat, anorexics feel anxious and are calmed when they refuse food.

Food – A Cheap and Legal Addiction for Some

Functional MRI (fMRI) is rather like using Google Earth. It helps us to delve deeper into our understanding of how certain triggers activate centers in the brain associated with cravings and addictive behaviors. A recent study from Yale University published in Archives of General Psychiatry finds that women who completed a questionnaire that identifies substance dependence behaviors around food also responded to seeing and tasting a glass of chocolate milk shake. The reward centers were triggered by this cue just like cocaine in a drug addict. Maybe this is why it is so hard for people to diet – there are just too many cues around in our environment. Further studies will look at how much of this is learned rather than genetic. For most people it is probably a combination of both genes and environment.

The value of smart health assessment

Despite high hopes of genome wide assessment studies providing useful knowledge the results have been disappointing to say the least. Except for rare genetic variations the chronic diseases that are amenable to diet change are elusive using this technique alone. That is why it takes a validated questionnaire format to determine family health history and current health status to make meaningful recommendations. Please visit and answer the questionnaire to receive your free recommendations.

Is your bedroom TV making you fat?

Thought provoking study suggests that having a bedroom that isn’t completely dark such as sleeping with the TV on may be linked to weight gain and insulin resistance. Simple remedy that may be effective in helping with maintaining a healthy weight is to remove the TV from the bedroom! Light-dark cycles are known to be associated with melatonin release and this in turn is associated with tryptophan uptake in the brain. Tryptophan is an unusual amino acid and is taken up by the brain most rapidly when other amino acids circulate at lower levels such as after a carbohydrate only meal – maybe its not just the TV light but maybe that triggers cravings for soda and chips too. This study looked at mice (admittedly not humans but easier to control!) and found that exposure to a relatively dim light at night over 8 weeks caused a 50% greater weight gain than in mice who had a standard light-dark cycle.

French researcher J Le Magnen back in the 1980’s described fat building (lipogenesis) in association with dark cycles of rats contrasted to fat burning (lipolysis) during the light cycle. His findings were controversial at the time but maybe we should look again at how obesity may be not just about what we eat but how well we sleep.


“Neurobiology of feeding and nutrition” by Jacques Le Magnen

Academic Press, 1992

Body fat as a safe storage site for toxins?

The late Roslyn Alfin Slater, PhD, one of my mentors at UCLA, noted that adipose tissue is a relatively safe place to store toxins that aren’t readily removed (by liver or kidney detoxification processing). A recent examination of NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) showed a highly significant correlation between six environmental pollutants in serum and weight change. A second study found similar changes in 39 obese individuals subjected to a 15 week low calorie diet and looking at 26 organochlorine compounds in blood and body fat (subcutaneous). This underscores the importance of supporting liver and kidney detoxification processes by eating a high fiber, fruit and vegetable rich diet and avoiding environmental pollutants for health.

Int J Obes (Lond). 2010 Sep 7

Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2000 Oct;24(10):1272-8.

Sit less – move more but it may be all in the genes!

First we learn that it is less about what you do rather how little you sit down that affects your health and mortality. Sit less, move more! (Patel, et al. Am J Epidemiol 2010:172(4)419-429)
Another study (with mice not humans) indicates that voluntary exercise is highly heritable meaning wanting to sit more may be something you are programmed to do (Garland, et al. Proc Roy Soc 2010, DOI 10. 1098/rspb2010,1584). Even if that is the case for humans (and many rodent behavior studies don’t pan out when applied to humans) then it simply means for those of us who find it hard to get to the gym we will still benefit if we get up, pace around and are just more active. “Use it or lose it” as Jack Lalanne would say – one of my heroes who is still amazingly active both physically and mentally in his 90’s. Go Jack!