You already have heard of some nutrients that have the ability to support your vision, but have you ever heard of some nutrients that are able to support your hearing, which are contained in foods? If you ever notice that you are not hearing well, or you think that you don’t hear everything like you used to, you may find the answer in your everyday diet.
Actually, some imbalances in the nutrition may be the main cause for the decreasing of your hearing sense. The loss of hearing related to the aging process is not caused because of some mechanical dysfunction inside your ear. In fact this is how our brain is processing the information it receives, which results in decreased hearing.
In fact, the brain has the ability to support your hearing and give feedback to the ears, it filters the information only that is important and what you want to hear, but once you go over 40 or 50 this ability is lost. Without the filtering of the brain, it would just be too much information that you won’t be able to accumulate, and you will end finding difficulties to sort them.
But don’t panic, because there is a way to reverse the process of age-related hearing loss.The Tinnitus which is mostly causes damage to the ear from noises, can be improved as well, and a sudden loss of hearing can be improved as well.
Nutrients that Improve and Protect Hearing
In the group of nutrients who provide the most benefits to improve and protect your hearing are the following ones:
- Crotenoids, mostly vitamin A and astaxanthin
The listed nutrients are supporting hearing in many ways, such as:
- Prevent from free radical damage.
- Protect from oxidative stress in the cochela
- Improve homocysteine metabolism
- Reduce the cochelar damage that is related to the compromised vascular system, due to the improvement of the blood flow
There is a mixed support for vitamin A. There was a study in which were included about 65,500 women, and there was no connection found between the risk of hearing loss and the intake of vitamin A. But many studies have proven this study very wrong, by finding a correlation between these two. Weston A. Price, reported:
“A study from 1984 which was done in Europe, has reported 5-15 decibel improvement in those patients who had reduced hearing due to aging, only by the consumption of vitamin A and vitamin E. While some other studies have concluded that decreased vitamin A levels resulted in declining many sensor cells in the tongue, inner ear and nose.”
“A study done in 1993, concluded that vitamin A is the only one that has the ability to trigger the regeneration of the cells called, mammalian auditory hair cells. While in 2009, a Japanese study has shown that adults who were maintaining the vitamin A levels around the normal, as well as carotenoids had lower risk of hearing loss.”
“According to a 2014 study, a group of researchers have found that if a person is in lack of vitamin A during pregnancy, mostly in the early stages, may cause a sensorial hearing loss and offspring to the inner ear malformations.”
Tinnitus can be Improved by Folate
For tinnitus which is induced by noise, which is mostly followed by chronic ear ringing, the B9 vitamin or also known as folate, was proven to be very helpful. Homocysteine can be also lowered by folate, and the age-related hearing loss is mostly caused by having a high blood levels of homocysteine.
Therefore, you can raise the levels of folate in your body by eating a lot of raw, organic and fresh leafy green veggies. And the folic acid is actually the synthetic form that is added into many supplements.
You consume more folate from these foods than to take any folic acid supplements. The folate must be active in its biological active form, known as -- L-5-MTHF. This form is able to go through the blood barrier of the brain, straight into it.
Many studies have also proven that adults are not able to transfer the folate in this active form, because they have reduced activity of the enzymes, which is triggered genetically. Therefore, if you are willing to take any vitamin B supplements, make sure that they contain natural folate, not the synthetic folic acid. But children convert the folic acid much easier than natural folate.
Broccoli, turnip greens, spinach and asparagus, all of these are one of the richest sources of folate, and some beans as well, like garbanzo beans and lentils.
Zinc for Sudden Hearing Loss
According to some researches, sudden hearing loss can be improved that by the increased intake of zinc. The sudden hearing loss is called SSNHL, and it can be treated with certain steroids consumed in big doses, even though that the consumption of steroids is controversial, and there is some evidence that say the efficacy of them is very limited.
But there is good news as well, 47-63% of the patients who are affected, in the end have recovered the hearing most of it or all of it. But the cause of the sudden hearing loss still remains unknown, and there is a simple theory that says it is mostly caused from immunologic diseases or a viral infection. This may explain why the zinc is that much beneficial for the treatment of this issue and the high rate of the recovery process.
The zinc contains strong anti-viral properties, and many researches have proven that the zinc has the ability to prevent from particularly common colds and viruses by attaching or replacing to your nasal membranes. The zinc has the ability to boost your immune system as well, which gives your body the ability to have more protection against many viral infections.
In a study which was done, 66 patients who had SSNHL were divided in two smaller groups randomly one half received oral zinc gluconate and corticosteroid treatment, while the other group recieved corticosteoit treatment only.The levels of zinc were ascertained at the end of the study.
The group which received the zinc serum had much bigger percentage of recovery and improvement in the hearing. The authors reported:
“By some correlation analysis, there were some relations found between posttreatment hearing thresholds and serum zinc level changes, and between the percentage of recovery in the zinc group with the changes of serum zinc levels as well.”
” The intake of zinc supplements enhances the recovery process of hearing, in patients who are dealing with SSNHL. The zinc’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, help to reduce the oxidative stress of the cochela in patients who deal with SSNHL, and with this, we know another new way to treat this disease.”
The Richest Source of Zinc is a Well-Balanced Diet
You can create an imbalance by consuming a single mineral independently while the consumption of all others is normal or reduced. An imbalance is very likely to be caused by the consumption of zinc supplements, therefore the intake of zinc independently may be a little bit problematic. The increased intake of zinc has been proven to:
- Induce stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting and nausea.
- Elevates the risk of prostate cancer in men.
- Correlates with the ability of your body to absorb minerals, such as copper, and this may cause the development of anemia.
The recommended daily allowance or RDA of zinc is known to be:
- 3 mg for infants
- 5 mg for children that are between 4 and 8 years old
- 8 mg for children that are between 9 and 13 years old
- 8 mg as well or women (3 mg or more, during pregnancy or if you are lactating)
- 11 mg for adult ment
It is considered to be excessive anything that is more than 50 milligrams. To prevent form the excess intake of zinc, try to consume it through foods, that way you are safe. Besides that, foods that are rich in proteins such as seafood and grass-fed beef, there are some dietary sources that are rich with zinc, like tahini or ground sesame seeds, almonds, cashews, sea vegetables, spinach, cheddar cheese, crimini mushrooms and pumpkin seeds.
There is between 16 and 182 milligrams of zinc in 100 grams serving of Ouzters, which is on top of the list of foods that are rich in zinc, which is followed bu the liver that contains 12 milligrams of zinc in 100 grams serving. This seems that zinc is much easier absorbed from animal sources than any other plant source. Therefore if you are looking for a way to quickly increase the zinc levels in your body, you need to increase the consumption of liver and organic grass-fed beef!
Intravenous Magnesium May Also Improve Sudden Hearing Loss
Also it was proven that SSNHL can be improve by the increased intake of magnesium. In a certain study, 48% of the patients who were dealing with SSNHL, recovered after they received a mixture from carbogen inhalation (a mix of oxygen gas and carbon dioxide) and intravenous magnesium. And 27% more have experienced this miraculous improvement.
There were a few factors that were reducing the effect of this treatment, like delaying the treatment for more than 8 days, and vestibular symptoms (the patients that had vertigo).
Increasing NT3 Production Restored Hearing in Mice
Some researchers came to a very interesting finding a few years ago, when they were looking for ways to restore the hearing which was lost due to noise. The hearing loss process could be reversed only by the increased production of a protein known as neurotrophin-3 (NT3), but the experiment were done on mice which lost their hearing due to very loud noises.
Therefore, it was concluded that the NT3 protein was playing a huge role in the bond between the brain and the ears. This protein has the ability yo establish a link or a bond between the nerve cells in your brain with the hair cells in your inner ear. They are called ribbon synapses, and these can be damaged due to very loud noises, and can result in hearing loss as well.
The ribbon synapses are very likely to be damaged in the aging process, therefore we are finding out that the production of the NT3 is reduced as we age. In order to boost its production, the scientists were using conditional gene re-combination. The Medical News Today reported:
“The researchers have the ability to activate genes in the particular cells only with a drug that stimulates the cells to read the additional copies of a gene that was put inside of them. This study was using the same technique to activate the NT3 genes, wgich were introduced to the cells that were supportive, which were located in the ears of the mice, which lost their ability to hear due to very loud noises.”
“In the inner ear the supporting cells were introduced to the drug tamoxifen, which stimulated them to increase the production of the NT3 protein. The researchers concluded that the production of NT3 in the mice was elevated, and the mice recovered their hearing ability in only two weeks, compared to those mice that didn’t have increased production of NT3.”
“They are now looking for a way to create a drug or a cure that will provide the same effects, that will increase or boost the production of that protein, in order to help many people who have lost their hearing ability. The researchers are sure that this method will work on humans too, but it would be a lot more simple to develop a drug which will be consumed as much as someone needs to consume it, in order to restore the hearing ability.”
NT3 Expression is elevated by Astaxanthin
According to a Chinese study, astaxanthin can be used for the same purpose, as the drug which scientists want to develop for the increased production of NT3. Astaxanthin is a member of the carotenoid family, and it is said that it is one of the most potential antioxidants that was given to us by Mother Nature.
The astaxanthin has far more potential than alpha-tocopherol, beta-carotene and lutein. It makes very powerful free radical scavenging activity that is protecting the organs, body tissues and cells from the oxidative damage. Also it has one of the strongest anti-inflammatory properties, and that gives it the ability to go through the blood-retinal barrier and the blood-brain barrier.
The astaxanthin has been proven ti be very beneficial for your eye and brain health, and because of its ability to increase the NT3 production, it is highly beneficial for your hearing too. There was a study which was done on rats, who have injured the compressive spinal cord, in the study was watched the effect of astaxanthin on the expression of NT3, and it was proven that this protein was able to boos the growing process of the spinal cord neurons too. The authors also said that the astaxanthin is promoting the expression of NT3 as well.
Astaxanthin can be taken naturally only from a few sources, two in fact -- the creatures in the sea that consume algae, like shellfish, krill and salmon and the microalgae that are producing it, which are known as Haematococcus pluvialis. If you are trying astaxanthin for the first time, we highly recommend you to take a dose of not more than 2 mg a day.
If you are consuming astaxanthin through krill, be very aware that every krill product contains different levels of astaxanthin, therefore you might want to check the label in the back. Even that it is still unknown which dose is the best to be taken in order to improve your hearing, the intake of 8-10 mg of it on daily basis is for improving your eye health.
You can Improve Your Hearing by Boosting BDNF as Well
A study which was done in 1996, researchers concluded that you can prevent from the the loss of auditory neurons and auditory hair cells by any therapy that increases the BDNF or NT3. Therefore, it was concluded in earlier studies that the BDNF plays one of the main roles in the survival and development of the auditory neurons in our brain, the BDNF stands for brain-derived neurotropic factor.
It is interesting that the only natural factor that can increase the BDNF is exercising. This is why exercising is so important to prevent cognitive decline, because a part of it is related to the boost of BDNF. There is the reason why exercising is so beneficial if you want to prevent from hearing loss.
What is the Best Way to Protect Your Hearing?
At the moment 360 million people worldwide, are dealing with hearing difficulties and hearing loss, and the causes are all different, some due to infection some due to very loud noises, some due to the aging process. And statistically 50% of these cases may be avoided. Also the cases that are noise-induced hearing loss and hidden hearing loss are included! Prevention 101 from hearing loss, is protecting yourself from very loud noises. There are a lot more ways to prevent from hearing loss, here are a few of them that you can do:
- Lower the volume on the personal audio devices.
- Wear earplugs when you are passing though very noisy and loud venues, and you should wear protection if you are working in a louder environment as well.
- Download a decibel meter on your phone, which will show you a warning sign when the volume is increased to a level when it can cause damage.
- When you are using personal audio devices take breaks by listening regularly.
- Have a limit of how much time you spend in a noisy environment or you do noisy activities.
- Use headphones or earphones that will fit perfectly into your ear, that way you will listen clearly at lower volume as well.
- Reduce the use of personal audio devices in a day to an hour.
- Think about moving into another place if you live in a very noisy neighborhood.
- In order to protect your ears from street sounds, lawnmowers and traffic use some sound-blocking headphones.
- Also when you are mowing the lawn, use protection to prevent from the condition.
- If you are unable to move from a noisy neighborhood, try to add some acoustical tile to your walls and ceiling to lower the noise that comes from the outside.
- Heavy curtains, rugs, insulation and double-paneled windows may help as well
But besides these things, maintaining a healthy diet that is rich with healthy foods is the best way to protect yourself from hearing loss, that is related to aging. Even if you have already lost some hearing degree, you might be able to get it back by maintaining a balance of the intake of carotenoids, mostly vitamin A, magnesium, zinc, folate and astaxanthin!