Tinnitus is perceived as a roaring, buzzing, chirping, or humming sound without any actual acoustical stimulation. It is estimated that over 15 million Americans experience this very disturbing condition on a regular basis. Research has shown that the many cases of chronic tinnitus are part of a degenerative process characterized by chronic inflammation. Lifestyle based solutions can reverse this inflammatory damage before it is too late.
Inflammation is the body’s natural response to tissue damage. It can be a very good thing. If you bang your elbow your body will produce inflammation to clean up debris and initiate the healing process. However, when our body is in a state of chronic inflammation problems arise. In fact, all degenerative disease such as arthritis, heart disease, cancer, etc. are associated with inflammation at the cellular level.
Tinnitus can be caused by a number of different conditions including build-up of inner ear wax, ear infections, vestibular disorders, exposure to loud noises, Meniere’s disease, low thyroid function, hypertension, allergies, and on very rare cases a tumor. Over 250 medications listtinnitus as a common side effect of usage including aspirin and anti-biotics.
One of the most common causes of tinnitus is due to inflammation and poor circulation within the inner ear. When the body is chronically inflamed certain inflammatory mediating prostaglandins are secreted in high amounts. This is most commonly caused by a toxic and deficient diet and lifestyle.
These pro-inflammatory mediators cause an increase in vasoconstriction and platelet aggregation. This decreases blood flow into the smaller capillaries of the body such as the inner ear. This inflammatory process also increases the lymphatic fluid in the inner ear. This combination increases pressure in the inner ear which stimulates the auditory nerve enough to create a series of action potentials that the brain interprets as sound.
The presence of inflammatory based tinnitus is a warning sign that the entire body is inflamed and disease processes are forming rapidly. Most inflammatory conditions can be reversed through diet and lifestyle modifications and the use of beneficial supplementation.
Begin eating an anti-inflammatory diet that consists of phytonutrient dense fruits & vegetables, healthy fat sources, and grass-fed/free-range animal products. Keep sugar & grains to a minimum. Use coconut, olive oil, grass-fed meat, free range eggs, avocados, nuts/seeds, and non-starchy vegetables as primary fuels throughout the day. Load up on anti-inflammatory herbs such as turmeric, ginger, dandelion, oregano, garlic, & green tea. The primary fruits that should be used are low-sugar, anti-oxidant rich sources such as berries, lemons/ limes, & grapefruits.
Several supplements have been shown to be highly beneficial for reducing inflammation and enhancing circulation throughout the body and in particular the inner ear. High quality sources of the omega 3 fatty acids EPA & DHA and the omega 6 fat GLA are critical for this process. Individuals should strive to get about 1.5 grams of EPA/DHA and 300-500mg of GLA daily for prevention or treatment.
Vitamin B12 is a critical player in the formation of the myelin sheaths that surround and insulate nerve fibers. A vitamin B12 deficiency makes nerves more susceptible to the inflammatory damage that causes tinnitus. Healthy meat sources are a great way to get Vitamin B12. Use digestive enzymes and/or apple cider vinegar with your meat products to enhance protein and B12 absorption.
To reverse tinnitus you must limit free radical damage with heavy doses of powerful anti-oxidants. Pine bark extract, grape seed extract, resveratrol, & bilberry are anti-oxidant rich sources that have all shown powerful effects at enhancing blood supply to the inner ear and reversing symptoms of tinnitus.