Understanding and Managing Drop attacks in Meniere’s Disease
Table of Contents
One of the most distressing symptoms of Meniere’s disease is drop attacks. These sudden terrifying falls without warning can be potentially dangerous, especially for older adults. In this article, we will discuss drop attacks and provide strategies for managing them. It is important to remember that not everyone who suffers from the other symptoms of Meniere’s, such as dizziness, vertigo, tinnitus and hearing loss, experiences drop attacks.
Symptoms of Drop Attacks
Drop attacks are, without doubt, one of the most extreme symptoms of Meniere’s disease. These sudden falls without any prior warning are caused by a sudden loss of balance, and the person may feel as though the ground has given way beneath their feet. Others speak of a sudden feeling of being on a jet coaster and their legs are thrown in the air. It can be a surreal experience and a dangerous one.
Causes of Drop Attacks
The exact definitive cause of Meniere’s disease is unknown, but it is believed to be caused by a buildup of fluid in the inner ear. This fluid buildup can affect the balance and hearing systems, leading to symptoms such as drop attacks. In drop attacks themselves, it would seem logical that a sudden shift in either fluid or crystals within the endolymphatic sac puts sudden increased pressure on the balance nerves.
Frequency of Drop Attacks
The frequency of drop attacks in Meniere’s disease can vary from person to person. Some people may experience several attacks per day, while others may have only a few attacks per year. The severity of the attacks can also vary, with some people experiencing mild falls and others experiencing more severe falls.
While there is no cure for Meniere’s disease, there are steps that can be taken to prevent drop attacks. These include making certain lifestyle changes such as reducing stress, maintaining a healthy diet, and avoiding triggers. Medications can also be used to manage symptoms, such as diuretics, antihistamines, and corticosteroids. Physical therapy and assistive devices can also help improve balance and reduce the risk of falls.
Managing drop attacks in Meniere’s disease is critical to improving the quality of life for those who suffer from this condition. Lifestyle changes, medications, physical therapy, assistive devices, and surgery are all strategies that can be used to manage drop attacks. Making certain lifestyle changes such as reducing stress and maintaining a healthy diet can help prevent attacks. Medications can be used to manage symptoms, while physical therapy and assistive devices can improve balance and reduce the risk of falls. In severe cases, surgery may be suggested.
Drop attacks in Meniere’s disease can be distressing and potentially dangerous. However, with the right support and management strategies, people with Meniere’s disease can live a full and active life despite the challenges posed by drop attacks. If you are experiencing symptoms of Meniere’s disease, it is essential to see a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Sudden Drop Attack – JAMA – Video
“Drop attacks are sudden falls without warning that can occur without loss of consciousness or neurologic symptoms as a rare manifestation of Meniere disease. Patients typically describe a sensation of being pushed, thrown, or knocked to the ground or have a sudden illusion of environmental tilt causing the fall. This video shows a drop attack (also sometimes called an otolithic crisis, Tumarkin drop attack, or drop vestibular attack) in a 47-year-old man with Meniere disease manifest as longstanding recurrent vertigo, fluctuating hearing loss, and tinnitus in his left ear. Pathophysiology is thought to be associated with sudden changes of utricle or saccule function or by sudden stimulation and mechanical deformation caused by pressure differentials within the inner ear or by a rapid change in electrolyte levels in the endolymph and perilymph.” JAMA Neurology.
Hypoglycemia as a cause of Meniere’s is debatable in that there are several possible root causes and many contributing factors to consider. Whether it is a root cause or not, it seems evident that there is a link in a significant number of cases. Bear in mind that what is relevant in one person who has the symptoms of Meniere’s might not be relevant in another.
There can be very different root causes that all have the same resulting symptoms that come under the label of “Meniere’s”.
The blood sugar and insulin factors in Meniere’s is something that should not be ignored and is worth investigating for the sufferer. By doing so, you can either rule out the relevance in your case or if it is relevant to you, understand what action you can take to help your body find balance.
Here the focus is mainly on non diabetic hypoglycemia, seizures and Meniere’s disease. Many sufferers report they have had a history at some point in their lives of experiencing hypoglycemic type symptoms and/or seizures.
ENT doctors may dismiss any connections with this and the symptoms of Meniere’s. However, research would suggest there is indeed a connection in a sizeable enough number of sufferers.
Moreover the connections are there to see in plenty of cited studies to back this up.
Insulin and blood sugar levels are relevant in Meniere’s disease. One hypothesis regarding Meniere’s is that when the pressure becomes too intense the endolymphatic sac bursts and two electrolytes, potassium and sodium that should be kept apart are mixed, causing vertigo.
This hypothesis may or may not be correct, however, it is a known fact that excess sodium retains fluid in the tissues. Excess fluid can manifest into the key factor in Meniere’s and almost all disease states and that key factor is inflammation.
Moreover, consuming too much sugar can be a very fast reacting trigger for increased pressure, tinnitus, dizziness or vertigo in some Meniere’s sufferers.
Where insulin may come into the picture is that insulin is very much part of the regulation of sodium and potassium within the kidneys. Studies on diabetes show that insulin plays a part in sodium retention.
Hypoglycemia is a condition caused by low blood glucose (blood sugar) levels. Glucose is the main source of energy for the body. The condition is most common in people with diabetes who have issues with medicine, food, or exercise.
According to the center for advance medicine, Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, is caused by an inconsistent oversupply of insulin or an under-supply of adrenaline, especially if you have been eating a diet high in sugar.
Sometimes people who don’t have diabetes can also get low blood glucose. There are two kinds of nondiabetic hypoglycemia:
Reactive hypoglycemia, which happens a few hours after you eat a meal
Fasting hypoglycemia, which might be linked to medicine or a disease. Fasting hypoglycemia often happens after the person goes without food for 8 hours or longer.
In extreme cases it can cause: confusion, blurred vision and seizures.
Non-diabetic hypoglycemia is believed to be rare. Glucose (sugar) is the main source of energy for your body and brain. It comes from what we eat and drink.
Insulin, is a hormone that helps keep blood glucose at normal levels. Insulin’s job is to help glucose enter your cells where it’s used for energy. If your glucose level is too low, problems can occur.
What causes non-diabetic hypoglycemia?
In reactive hypoglycemia it is thought that being in a pre-diabetic state, someone who is considered at risk of diabetes, a result of stomach surgery and rare enzyme deficiencies can all be causes.
Causes of fasting hypoglycemia can include:
Medicines, such as salicylates (a type of pain reliever), sulfa drugs (an antibiotic), pentamidine (to treat a serious kind of pneumonia), quinine (to treat malaria).
Alcohol, especially with binge drinking.
Serious illnesses, such as those affecting the liver, heart, or kidneys.
Low levels of certain hormones, such as cortisol, growth hormone, glucagon, or epinephrine.
Tumors, such as a tumor in the pancreas that makes insulin or a tumor that makes a similar hormone called IGF-II
Source: The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism
There are a number of causes of hypoglycemia other than eating too much sugar and overstimulating the pancreas:
Funguscan contribute to hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, by taking sugar that is needed by your cells.
As mentioned, there is a connection with adrenal health. Stress hormones can trigger the body’s tendency to release too much insulin.
Caffeine stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, which can lead to increased insulin levels.
The linked causes above can also be very relevant to Meniere’s disease. Click the links to read their relevance to the symptoms of dizziness, vertigo, hearing loss and tinnitus in a separate window.
Eating small regular meals throughout the day may be advised for people with fasting hypoglycemia. This type of dietary advice has also been shown to help some sufferers of Meniere’s disease.
Other dietary advice can include, eating a variety of foods, including protein (meat and nonmeat), dairy foods, and high-fiber foods such as whole-grain bread, fruit, and vegetables as well as limiting high sugar foods.
Some doctors recommend a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet. That said, according to the The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism this type of diet has not proven to help hypoglycemia.
However, we know all too well from our experience with Meniere’s, that even though something is not clinically proven, it doesn’t mean it cannot help.
Clinical links to hypoglycemia and Meniere’s disease
A 2015 study published in the International Archives of Otorhinolaryngology found that: “Auditory and vestibular symptoms usually occur prior to other manifestations of metabolic changes, leading to an early diagnosis of hyperinsulinemia, intestinal sugar malabsorption or diabetes.
Previously undiagnosed diabetes mellitus type II was found in 39 patients“*
* This was a retrospective study of 376 patients with inner ear symptoms suggestive of disturbances of carbohydrate metabolism.
A 2009 study published in the Brazilian Journal of Otorhinolaryngology concluded that: “87.7% of the patients with dizziness and suspicion of peripheral vestibular disorder had glucose or insulin metabolism disorders.”
Their results showed the following:
Hypoglycemia was seen in 61.7% of the cases
hyperinsulinemia in 55.5%
hyperglycemia in 27.2%
glucose intolerance in 12.3%
hypoinsulinemia in 1.2%
Normal tests were seen in 12.3 % of the cases and altered fasting glucose in 23.5%
These results clearly suggest that irregularities in both glucose metabolism and insulin production can play a major role in vestibular disorders such as Meniere’s.
The British Medical journal published a study in 2019 that concluded, “The organ of Corti could be a target tissue for insulin action, and inner ear insulin resistance might contribute to the association between diabetes and inner ear dysfunction.”
The organ of corti is a structure in the cochlea of the inner ear which produces nerve impulses in response to sound vibrations.
The International Tinnitus Journal published a study in 2005: Glucose and Insulin Profiles and Their Correlations in Meniere’s Disease.
Their results showed, ” insulin curves for approximately 71.87% of the patients (n = 46) with Meniere’s disease revealed hyperinsulinemia, whereas GTT results compatible with impaired glucose tolerance were found for only 6.25% (4 patients), and changes in fasting glycemia or GTT (or both) suggesting NIDDM were seen for only 4.69% (3 patients).”
Hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia describes the condition and effects of low blood glucose caused by excessive insulin.
In the study Etiology and Treatment of FluidRetention (Hydrops)in Meniere’s Syndrome [Conrad A. Proctor, MD, Todd B. Proctor, M, Bruce Proctor, MD] it states:
“There is now much evidence that the hormone insulin promotes retention of sodium by the kidney . The end result of prolonged hyperinsulinemia also includes vasoconstriction and eventually arterial smooth muscle hypertrophy. Insulin production is stimulated by high-carbohydrate diets.
In this study, 58 of 75 Meniere’s patient s (seventy-seven percent) demonstrated abnormal insulin levels.
These patients were treated from 1980 to 1990 with a low carbohydrate, 6 to 8 feeding diet in addition to the usual no added -salt diet. Cholesterol was limited when indicated. Ninety-one percent of these Meniere’s patients with abnormal insulin levels reported at least a ninety percent improvement in both severity and frequency of vertigo attacks for the entire ten year period.”
Seizures have been associated with hypoglycemia but a 2015 study published in Science Direct suggested, “In this study of a large number of patients with hypoglycemia, a notably low frequency of seizures was noticed. This indicates that the risk of seizures in association with low blood glucose levels seems to be low.“
In the book, The Need for Balance – Dealing with the Causes of Meniere’s, I explain the domino effect within our body that can eventually manifest the symptoms of Meniere’s disease. Seemingly unrelated health issues or injuries suffered sometimes years before can eventually result in Meniere’s.
Is there a possibility that someone who has experienced seizures, low blood sugar episodes, insulin irregularities or hypoglycemia at some point in their life becomes more susceptible to the symptoms of Meniere’s manifesting.
I recently posted this question in several Meniere’s related social media groups; “Did anyone experience any kind of seizures or hypoglycemia anytime in your life BEFORE your Meniere’s symptoms started?”
Of the 210responses received, 90said yes to hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. 26 said yes to some type of seizures.
As with all suspected root causes and secondary causes of Meniere’s symptoms the numbers are not conclusive but significantly high enough to suggest a correlation in some sufferers.
What to do about Hypoglycemia and Meniere’s disease?
There are several possible root causes of Meniere’s disease and many contributing factors. As stated at the beginning of this article, what is relevant for one sufferer may have little to no relevance in another. You may have more than one root problem contributing to your symptoms.
Almost certainly, all of them result in inflammation.
You can deal with inflammation by eating foods high in anti-inflammatory nutrients, avoiding foods that cause inflammation and avoiding foods high in sodium.
You can support your immune system with nutrient rich foods, high in anti-oxidants and using quality dietary supplements.
Control of hypoglycemia is almost exclusively dietary. Although hypoglycemia is in some ways the opposite of diabetes, the dietary recommendations are essentially the same since in both cases the goal is to stabilize insulin and sugar levels.
According to the center for advanced medicine, you should eat complex carbohydrates and fiber along with protein, and avoid sweets and refined foods. Frequent small, high protein meals help modulate insulin swings and control hypoglycemia
Magnesium is one of the most significant mineral nutrients for the body to function and deficiency may be common among the general population. You can read more about its importance for Meniere’s sufferers here: Magnesium links to Meniere’s disease
Regarding hypoglycemia, low blood sugar and insulin, magnesium plays an important role in helping your body convert glucose from your food into fuel. If you don’t have enough magnesium in your body, your cells can become less effective at using insulin.
A 2013 study at the Medical School of Yangzhou University, China, concluded that “Increasing dietary magnesium to meet the RDA has a protective effect on insulin resistance.”
A 1982 study at Brigham Young University ‘Reactive hypoglycemia and magnesium’ states that, “Mg [Magnesium]supplementation appeared to prevent nadirs in plasma glucose that were significantly below fasting levels. This suggested that the hypoglycemia of reactive hypoglycemia would be a sign of a complex disorder and not the cause.
It is suggested that reactive hypoglycemia is related to a disturbed Mg balance. Mg-Ca [Magnesium – Calcium] interactions also appear to be important but the mechanisms are not clear.
Subjective complaints, such as fatigue, and the disturbed blood sugar control would be symptoms and signs of this syndrome.”
A 1994 study published in the French journal, Therapie states, “The interrelationships between magnesium and carbohydrate metabolism have regained considerable interest over the last few years. Insulin secretion requires magnesium: magnesium deficiency results in impaired insulin secretion while magnesium replacement restores insulin secretion.”
Nature.com published a study in 2016 ‘Mg supplementation appears to have a beneficial role and improves glucose parameters in people with diabetes and also improves insulin-sensitivity parameters in those at high risk of diabetes.’
There are many factors to consider regarding dietary magnesium and it would be worth clicking the link above ‘Magnesium links to Meniere’s disease‘ to learn more.
Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, nuts, brown rice, dairy products and wholegrain foods are good sources of magnesium. The super food, Moringa is one of the best sources of dietary magnesium.
Calcium works in synergy with magnesium, too much or too little of one can have an effect on how the other works inside the body.
Calcium is not just about healthy bones and teeth, it is essential for life. A 1981 study in Hormone and metabolic research, ‘Effect of calcium infusion on post-reactive hypoglycemia’ found that: “In normal subjects, this infusion did not affect insulin secretion and OGTT, contrary to all patients with reactive hypoglycemia in whom calcium infusion produced significant increase in plasma glucose. Simultaneously the symptoms of hypoglycemia disappeared. Continuous infusion of calcium suppressed reactive hypoglycemia.”
Dietary sources of calcium include: diary products, green leafy vegetables, soybeans, the bones in sardines and fortified cereals.
Chromium is an essential trace mineral that can improve insulin sensitivity and enhance protein, carbohydrate, and lipid metabolism. It is a metallic element that people need very small quantities of. Processing foods such as polishing rice can rob the cereal of its chromium, increasing the possibility of blood sugar irregularities.
In a 1987 clinical trial published on pubmed, ‘Effects of supplemental chromium on patients with symptoms of reactive hypoglycemia’ it was found that: “Chromium supplementation alleviated the hypoglycemic symptoms and significantly raised the minimum serum glucose values observed two to four hours following a glucose load.
Insulin binding to red blood cells and insulin receptor number also improved significantly during Cr supplementation. These data suggest that impaired Cr nutrition and/or metabolism may be a factor in the etiology of hypoglycemia.”
*According to the US National Institute of Health, “The FNB has not evaluated chromium since 2001. However, in 2014, the European Food Safety Authority Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies concluded that no convincing evidence shows that chromium is an essential nutrient and, therefore, setting chromium intake recommendations would be inappropriate.”
Eating a fully balanced diet of fresh (organic where possible) produce and avoiding processed and fast food is a wise choice for anyone, but for people suffering with Meniere’s disease and compromised by hypoglycemia it would seem particularly prudent.
We know from the experience of supporting sufferers since 2004, that a healthy diet, lifestyle and using high quality full spectrum supplementation can help a great deal in either reducing or even eliminating the symptoms of Meniere’s.
Spirulina is nutrient packed superfood that may have many possible benefits for Meniere’s sufferers (read more here). Spirulina also has value for those suffering from hypoglycemia.
The Journal of medicinal food published a study in 2001. Extract:
“Spirulina, with its high concentration of functional nutrients, is emerging as an important therapeutic food. This study aimed to evaluate the hypoglycemic and hypolipidemic role of Spirulina. Twenty-five subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus were randomly assigned to receive Spirulina (study group) or to form the control group.
These findings suggest the beneficial effect of Spirulina supplementation in controlling blood glucose levels and in improving the lipid profile of subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus.”
Help other sufferers. What is your experience with Meniere’s and hypoglycemia or low blood sugar levels? Tell us all about it in the comments box below or email Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your input and perspective is always appreciated.
According to the CDC, around 50 million people suffer with tinnitus in the US. That is 15% of the population. According to Science daily, one in seven worldwide suffer from tinnitus.
There are many causes of tinnitus, ranging from noise induced, infections, trauma (physical and psychological), drug side effects, diseases, age, TMJ, blood conditions and stress.
How tinnitus sounds and feels is unique to the individual but it varies between ringing, buzzing, clicking, humming, roaring, hissing and indescribable sounds. It can range from slightly annoying to absolutely tortuous.
In Meniere’s disease an increase in tinnitus can precede increases in ear pressure, dizziness and a full blown vertigo attack. Tinnitus can fluctuate greatly and increases can last minutes to days and weeks.
What causes this increase and what can you do about it? The same triggers that result in pressure build up inside the ear, dizziness and eventually vertigo are the same for tinnitus; increased inflammation and blood pressure.
What causes increased inflammation, blood pressure and tinnitus
Medications known to cause or worsen tinnitus include:
Antibiotics, including polymyxin B, erythromycin, vancomycin (Vancocin HCL, Firvanq) and neomycin
Cancer medications, including methotrexate (Trexall) and cisplatin
Water pills (diuretics), such as bumetanide (Bumex), ethacrynic acid (Edecrin) or furosemide (Lasix)
Quinine medications used for malaria or other health conditions
Certain antidepressants, which may worsen tinnitus
Aspirin taken in uncommonly high doses (usually 12 or more a day)
* Source: Mayo Clinic
Electromagnetic field (EMF) exposure
A very modern cause of tinnitus and indeed Meniere’s disease, may be over exposure to electromagnetic fields. With the rapid saturation of EMFs all around us from wifi, cell phones and cell phone towers has also come an increase in prevalence of tinnitus in young people.
In a 2014 study published in the Journal of Neurology, ‘Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry’, it stated that 29 % of students between the ages of 11 and 17 had already developed chronic tinnitus!
Tinnitus shares pathophysiology with Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity. All things that use electricity generate EMFs, so that includes your computers, televisions, cell phones and household appliances etc.
Your body also uses electrical signals to transmit information. In your brain, neurons communicate with each other via minute electrical charges, and external EMFs can interfere with these signals.
According to the Environmental Health Center -Dallas, “The extent to which EMF affects human health varies depending on the physiological history and genetic predisposition of the person. But exposure to changes in the larger fields of the sun, moon and our planet can affect almost every part of our being from head to heart and from head to toe.
Man made electrical fields likewise affect our body. Their effect depends on the strength of the fields, the distance from the source, and the length of the exposure time. Electrical current passing through the body can injure tissue and damage nerve transmission.
Cell phones produce Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) in the ultra high frequency range or Radio Frequency (RF) range. The radiation emanating from these RF fields can be linked with increased risk of glioma and acoustic neuroma.”
Acoustic neuroma is something that is usually checked for with MRI when diagnosing Meniere’s disease.
As far back as 1994, the American Bar Association Journal reported that EMF cases were being filed at the rate of about one per month.
In 2009 study published on pubmed (Association of Tinnitus and Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity: Hints for a Shared Pathophysiology?), it stated that, “Our data indicate that tinnitus is associated with subjective electromagnetic hypersensitivity. An individual vulnerability probably due to an overactivated cortical distress network seems to be responsible for both electromagnetic hypersensitivity and tinnitus.“
A 2018 study published in Science direct (Tinnitus and cell phones: the role of electromagnetic radiofrequency radiation) concluded with, “There are already reasonable evidences to suggest caution for using mobile phones to prevent auditory damage and the onset or worsening of tinnitus.”
The first way to avoid Tinnitus from EMF is obviously to reduce your time in close proximity to cell phones and do an environmental check for your house and surrounding area.
There are various suggested treatments for “Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity”, including detoxing heavy metals from your body.
How to avoid increases in tinnitus
All of the above can result in poor blood flow, inflammation or lowering of the immune system.
In many cases blood flow may be a major issue with Meniere’s. There is already constant inflammation so anything that adds to that or decreases the ability of your immune system to deal with inflammation will result in increased symptoms, including tinnitus.
So it stands to reason that you should avoid anything that lowers your immune system, affects blood flow or increases the possibility of inflammation.
Reduce stress and anxiety through stress management
Avoid excess alcohol, caffeine and stimulant drugs
Get regular exercise
Get enough sleep, with regular sleep patterns
Avoid processed foods
Avoid too much sugar
Avoid too much sodium
Eat regular healthy meals
Strongly consider dietary supplements to strengthen immune system
Drink water regularly
Studies have shown that vitamin B12 deficiency can cause hearing loss and tinnitus.
A 1993 study, ‘Vitamin B12 deficiency in patients with chronic-tinnitus and noise-induced hearing loss’ concluded that, “These observations suggest a relationship between vitamin B12 deficiency and dysfunction of the auditory pathway. Some improvement in tinnitus and associated complaints were observed in 12 patients following vitamin B12 replacement therapy. The authors recommend that routine vitamin B12 serum levels be determined when evaluating patients for chronic tinnitus.”
A 2016 study, Therapeutic role of Vitamin B12 in patients of chronic tinnitus stated, “This pilot study sheds light on the relationship of deficient B12 levels and tinnitus and its supplementation playing a therapeutic role in tinnitus.”
Vitamin B12 is an ingredient of Lipoflavonoid Plus.
For a decade and a half we have seen success in reducing Meniere’s symptoms using a specific dietary supplementation regimen. One of the most stubborn symptoms has always been tinnitus. Often, when Lipoflavonoid Plus has been added to this regimen, where tinnitus was still an issue, it seems to be successful.
Glutamate is a powerful excitatory neurotransmitter that is released by nerve cells in the brain. It is responsible for sending signals between nerve cells. It is the most abundant excitatory neurotransmitter in the vertebrate nervous system.
When there is too much glutamate it can become an excitotoxin and leads to seizures and the death of brain cells. This can lead to anxiety, stress, depression, and many neurodegenerative conditions, one of which is tinnitus.
Hypoglycemia can cause excessive glutamate concentrations around neurons, as blood sugars are the primary glutamate removal method. Hypoglycemia has also been linked to Meniere’s disease.
Studies show that stress can activate glutamate and alter the balance of glutamate and GABA. Stress is a known trigger for Meniere’s disease and most sufferers know that stress will increase tinnitus, ear pressure and the likelihood of a vertigo attack.
Nutrients that can help balance glutamate include theamino acidstaurine, GABA, and l-theanine; the anti-oxidants NAC and green tea; vitamins B6 and D; the minerals magnesium and zinc and omega-3 fatty acids.
GABA deficiency can cause increased glutamate.
Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) acts as the principal inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system (CNS). Glutamateand GABA work in a cycle. Increasing GABA may help inhibit too much glutamate production and has been shown in studies to reduce tinnitus.
Importantly, GABA plays a role in mediating sound receptors in your brain.
Magnesium has been shown to be a very integral part of successful supplement regimens for Meniere’s and has been used in Mayo clinic studies for tinnitus.
According to clinicaltrial.gov, “Recent studies of both noise-induced hearing loss and idiopathic sensorineural hearing loss have suggested that Mg supplementation may lessen the severity of tinnitus in patients. Mg improved hearing recovery and lessened tinnitus in patients with idiopathic sudden hearing loss.”
In 2011 The International Tinnitus Journal published a study stating that, “patients with moderate to severe tinnitus achieved significant improvement when taking a daily dose of 532 milligrams of magnesium for three months.”
You can a read a more in depth article on Magnesium and Meniere’s disease by clicking the link below.
Studies have shown that supplementing with pycnogenol has helped reduce tinnitus in Meniere’s disease. A 2014 Japanese study conclude that, “Symptoms of Meniere’s disease, flow at cochlear level and tinnitus improved in Pycnogenol subjects in comparison with best management.”
The therapeutic values of gingko have been known for thousands of years. It is particularly well known for helping blood flow to the peripheral blood vessels of the body. Researchers believe that ginkgo improves cognitive function because it promotes good blood circulation in the brain and protects the brain from neuronal damage.
Supplementing with ginkgo has long been part of successful supplement regimens for Meniere’s disease.
Studies suggest it is useful for tinnitus. One such study in 2011, ‘Ginkgo biloba extract in the treatment of tinnitus a systematic review’ stated, “Of note, all trials using this extract consistently demonstrate its superiority over placebo.”
Resting and trying to sleep can be difficult with constant tinnitus. Masking the sound with background music, the sound of nature or other specific frequency sound therapy can help you relax and block out the noise in your ear.
The tinnitus masking music therapy below, at the time of writing, has the best reviews on youtube.
Massage to ease tinnitus and other Meniere’s symptoms
I personally found that often the correct massage helped ease pressure, dizziness and tinnitus. In my case, a Thai massage therapist in Japan would use a green balm. She would massage up from the neck, behind the affected ear over the top of the ear and down to the jaw, in long slow deep strokes.
It was an easy massage to replicate and I could do this myself and often ease pressure, and therefore the tinnitus quite quickly.**
Medical massage for tinnitus is available. Medical massage, targeting specific muscles of the neck, head, upper back, and jaw can release tension and reduce the intensity of tinnitus symptoms.
In the video below, this man uses a slightly different technique, but judging from the comments on youtube it may help a great deal.
**Note: I no longer suffer from the symptoms of Meniere’s disease or tinnitus. You can read my story below:
Acupuncture for tinnitus
Acupuncture has been shown to be an effective treatment for both Meniere’s in general and in reducing tinnitus. Studies have shown this to be the case and I can personally vouch for this. It is not a cure and will mean regular visits, but I found it to be very beneficial in temporarily easing pressure, reducing tinnitus and stopping dizziness.
One 2018 study cited in the Caspian Journal of Internal Medicine concluded that, “acupuncture was more effective in reducing the loudness and severity of tinnitus based on VAS and TSI and can be used as a good treatment option for chronic non-pulsatile tinnitus.”
It should be noted that with both massage and acupuncture, it can very much depend on the skill and understanding of the individual therapist. As in all professions, some are great at what they do while others, not so good.
The hidden dangers of toxic mold and Meniere’s Disease
Mold and mycotoxins may be among the least spoken about serious threats to our health. The possible connections between mold and Meniere’s is not among the most commonly spoken about subjects when considering triggers and causes either.
Yet the possible connections have been known for many years. It is important to understand there can be many possible root causes and what is relevant to one Meniere’s sufferer may have little to no relevance in another.
According to Dr Mercola, “From a toxicity point of view, some mycotoxins (toxic substances produced by mold) are actually far more toxic than heavy metals, in terms of concentration. Mycotoxins also tend to affect more biological systems in your body than do pesticides or heavy metals, partly because fungi have the ability to dodge your immune system by rapidly mutating, while at the same time producing chemicals that suppress your immune system.”
He also says, “If your immune system is stressed in any way, or if you are extremely sensitive and have allergy-like reactions to a variety of agents then you may be even MORE sensitive to mold than the average person and have chronic symptoms directly related to mold in your environment. But even if you are generally healthy, mold can still pose a significant risk if you are caught off-guard.”
You need a healthy immune system to avoid Meniere’s symptoms, that’s a fact. We have seen for over a decade and a half that supporting your immune system with high quality supplements and a good diet has helped many people reduce their symptoms significantly regardless of their root cause.
However if your Meniere’s symptoms are a result of toxic molds, it may take specific nutrients in high enough levels to detox it from your body.
Molds have been associated with health problems that in themselves have been linked to Meniere’s such as sinus problems and autoimmune disease. Diagnostic tests for mold toxicity are very specific and one of those is a hearing test.
Toxic mold exposure has also been linked to neurological damage causing memory loss, insomnia, anxiety, depression, trouble concentrating, confusion. headaches, fatigue, nasal irritation and nausea.
Video: Meniere’s disease – Airborne allergies and Mold
In a study published in the journal Nature, ‘Proinflammatory cytokines and response to molds in mononuclear cells of patients with Meniere disease’ it was concluded that “Aspergillus and Penicillium trigger the release of TNF-? in MD patients and this could initiate or exacerbate the inflammatory response in the inner ear.”
Aspergillus and Penicillium are types of mold. There are hundreds of types of aspergillus molds and mildews that can be inhaled.
Penicillium is a fungus that grows on spoiled foods and can be ingested.
Video: Meniere’s, Tinnitus, Ringing of the Ears driven by Mold?
Solutions to toxic mold and Meniere’s
I personally suffered for 7 years with Meniere’s symptoms [ I bo longer suffer from the symptoms of Meniere’s disease]. During the absolute worst period of suffering I searched for mold in my house. It was the rainy season in Japan where I lived and at that time of year the moisture is incredible.
I found a huge patch of mold behind a set of drawers very near where my head would be while I slept. I immediately set about cleaning the mold and as a result very quickly brought on a violent vertigo attack.
It would be advisable to get a professional in to clear the mold because it may be all over your home without you knowing. If a professional is out of the question, then at least get someone else to clean it for you.
According to American mold expert Dr. Jack Thrasher, as many as 40 percent of American schools and 25 percent of homes have mold infestations, unbeknownst to the people occupying those buildings.
He says, “It follows that adverse health effects of mold may be reaching pandemic levels.”
Regarding humidity and mold Dr. Thrasher says, anything above 60 percent is going to lead to growth of mold and bacteria… People have to be very careful about this situation. That’s why I call it a pandemic“
If your home is prone to mold it would be advisable to (after clearing the mold) use an air purifier during the damp periods and make sure your house is well aired naturally in dryer periods.
Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant produced in cells. Research suggests that mycotoxins in mold can decrease the formation of glutathione due to decreased gene expression of the enzymes needed to form glutathione.
Mycotoxin-related compromise of glutathione production can result in an excess of oxidative stress that leads to tissue damage and systemic illness.
Glutathione is needed to detox mold from your body. Your liver is your body’s main detox organ. This is where glutathione plays a major role in detoxifying your mold mycotoxins.
When there is not enough glutathione to eliminate the toxins they start to stack up in the liver and cause mitochondrial damage – your cells’ energy powerhouse – affecting glutathione production.
Glutathione has been shown to improve protein, enzyme, and bilirubin levels in the blood of individuals with alcoholic and nonalcoholic chronic fatty liver disease. A study reported that glutathione was most effective when given to people with fatty liver disease intravenously, in high doses.
Glutathione can be found in foods such as: asparagus, avocado, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, spinach, broccoli, garlic, chives, tomatoes, cucumber, almonds, and walnuts.
However, dietary glutathione is poorly absorbed by the human body. Additionally, cooking and storage conditions can decrease the amount found in food. So if you have been exposed to mold mycotoxins it is worth supplementing pro-glutathione nutrients.
Milk thistle, N-acetyl cysteineand superoxide dismutase supplements can activate glutathione production naturally.
Vitamin D and Meniere’s Disease – What you should know
While all essential vitamins and minerals are important for a healthy functioning, balanced body, some vitamins are better known for their value to the immune system and some vitamins are known to help suppress the symptoms of Meniere’s disease.
Vitamin C, B12 and Magnesium are relatively well known for their benefits to ear function and Meniere’s but what about Vitamin D and Meniere’s disease?
According to studies cited on Mercola.com there is a robust and rapidly growing body of research clearly showing that vitamin D is absolutely critical for good health and disease prevention, in part due to the fact that it influences about 10 percent of all your genes.
Just one example of an important gene that vitamin D upregulates is your ability to fight infections and chronic inflammation. The whole concept behind using quality dietary supplements for Meniere’s disease is to support the immune system enough for it to deal with the inflammation causing Meniere’s symptoms.
So vitamin D would appear to be an important part of that.
It also produces over 200 anti-microbial peptides, the most important of which is cathelicidin, a naturally occurring broad-spectrum antibiotic.
Vitamin D is more than just one vitamin. It’s actually a family of nutrients that share similarities in chemical structure.
Sources of Vitamin D
In your diet, the most commonly found members are vitamin D2 and D3. The difference between D2 and D3 is, Vitamin D3 is found in food from animals while Vitamin D2 comes from plant derived foods. The best sources of Vitamin D3 is exposure to sunlight.
So if you are a vegan or living in areas that have little sunlight in winter you run a risk of vitamin D3 deficiency.
Focus on Vitamin D has only really taken off in the last 20 years. In this time, newer and more accessible technology has shown that Vitamin D deficiency is widespread.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 32% of children and adults throughout the US were vitamin D deficient
The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that 50% of children aged one to five years old, and 70% of children between the ages of 6 and 11, are deficient or insufficient in vitamin D
Researcher Dr. Holick estimates that 50% of the general population is at risk of vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency
In 2015 the WHO reported that Vitamin D deficiency is thought to be a widespread public health problem globally
A strong, healthy immune system means less inflammation and less inflammation means less chance of developing the symptoms of Meniere’s disease, or any other disease.
It is widely thought that vitamin D plays an important role in the modulation of the inflammation system by regulating the production of inflammatory cytokines and immune cells, which are crucial for the pathogenesis of many immune-related diseases.
Vitamin D studies
In a study published in The Journal of Immunology in 2012 ‘How vitamin D inhibits inflammation‘ it wrote:
“Vitamin D has long been known to contribute to bone health by promoting the absorption of calcium. In recent years, much attention has been paid to its possible immune and inflammatory benefits. Low vitamin D levels have been associated with several diseases including asthma, cancer, diabetes, and arthritis.
This study goes beyond previous associations of vitamin D with various health outcomes. It outlines a clear chain of cellular events, from the binding of DNA, through a specific signaling pathway, to the reduction of proteins known to trigger inflammation. Patients with chronic inflammatory diseases, such as asthma, arthritis and prostate cancer, who are vitamin D deficient, may benefit from vitamin D supplementation to get their serum vitamin D levels above 30 nanograms/milliliter”
Vitamin D also help control immune responses though cellular communication. Receptors for vitamin D are found on most types of immune cells. When vitamin D binds to cellular receptors, it sends messages to help support many different natural responses that can help keep you healthy. Sometimes, those responses can include turning on production of even more active vitamin D to increase levels right where and when it’s needed.
Vitamin D is fat-soluble—meaning that the fat in your body is how you collect and store it. So, if you’re overweight, it may mean you need more of it.
According to a 2011 study in the Journal of Investigative Medicine: “It is now clear that vitamin D has important roles in addition to its classic effects on calcium and bone homeostasis. As the vitamin D receptor is expressed on immune cells (B cells, T cells and antigen presenting cells) and these immunologic cells are all are capable of synthesizing the active vitamin D metabolite, vitamin D has the capability of acting in an autocrine manner in a local immunologic milieu.
Vitamin D can modulate the innate and adaptive immune responses. Deficiency in vitamin D is associated with increased autoimmunity as well as an increased susceptibility to infection. As immune cells in autoimmune diseases are responsive to the ameliorative effects of vitamin D, the beneficial effects of supplementing vitamin D deficient individuals with autoimmune disease may extend beyond the effects on bone and calcium homeostasis.“
Can Vitamin D help reduce the symptoms of Meniere’s Disease
A 2018 paper published on NIH, ‘Vitamin D supplementation may improve symptoms in Meniere’s disease’ states: “In the last 4 years the authors observed a trend that correcting vitamin D deficiency in newly diagnosed cases of Meniere’s disease decreased the necessity of the ablative therapy with intratympanic gentamicin. According to their hypothesis, vitamin D supplementation may indeed have a beneficial effect in Meniere’s disease if the symptoms are caused by a local postviral autoimmune reaction. Vitamin D has a strong immunomodulatory role, one of which is the regulation of the expression of pro-inflammatory mediators”
According to study published in August 2020 in ‘Neurology’ “Taking vitamin D and calcium twice a day may reduce your chances of getting vertigo”
A 2016 case study in the Caspian Journal of internal Medicine stated that, “This study indicates that the normalization of serum vitamin D significantly reduces BPPV recurrences.”
In 1983 The Journal of Laryngology and Otology published a study: ‘Vitamin D deficiency–a new cause of cochlear deafness’. It stated, “Ten patients are reported with bilateral cochlear deafness which was associated with vitamin D deficiency. The features of these cases are discussed following an overview of the clinical aspects and diagnosis of vitamin D deficiency.
The most likely pathogenesis is localized demineralization of the cochlea resulting in secondary morphological changes. Replacement therapy resulted in unilateral hearing improvement in two of the four patients in whom the response to treatment could be assessed.
This suggests a previously unrecognized causal correlation between vitamin D deficiency and cochlear deafness. Impaired vitamin D activity may be important in the aetiology of otosclerosis, presbyacusis and the deafness associated with chronic renal failure. Vitamin D deficiency should be considered in the differential diagnosis of unexplained bilateral cochlear deafness. It is important, as this ‘new’ metabolic type of sensorineural deafness may be reversible, and may also lead to the diagnosis of early osteomalacia before more serious generalized skeletal symptoms can occur.”
It would appear that Vitamin D is an important nutrient related to ear health, vertigo, deafness and tinnitus.
It is important to note that if you supplement vitamin D, you also need to take vitamin K2. The biological role of vitamin K2 is to help move calcium into the correct areas in your body. It also helps remove calcium from areas where it shouldn’t be, such as in your arteries and soft tissues.
Vitamin K2 deficiency is actually what produces the consequences similar to vitamin D toxicity, which includes inappropriate calcification that can lead to hardening of your arteries. The reason for this is because when you take vitamin D, your body creates more vitamin K2-dependent proteins that move calcium around in your body.
Without vitamin K2, those proteins remain inactivated, so the benefits of those proteins remain unrealized. So remember, if you take supplemental vitamin D, you’re creating an increased demand for K2.
This may have added significance for Vitamin D and Meniere’s disease as it has been suggested that excess vitamin D without K can cause tinnitus.
Would you consider yourself overweight? Studies suggest that obesity can cause issues with vitamin D deficiency regardless of intake from diet or exposure to sunlight.
Dr. Paulette Chandler, assistant professor of medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, “Our study highlights that obesity may confer resistance to vitamin D effects.
Chandler is a co-author of the study, ‘Vitamin D reduces risk for metastatic cancer, death by 17%‘ published on the JAMA network in November 2020.
The fact that the more obese you are the less effective vitamin D is utilized in your body has been pointed out in other previous studies. The 2017 study ‘Vitamin D in Obesity‘ pointed out:
“Serum vitamin D is lower in obese people; it is important to understand the mechanism of this effect and whether it indicates clinically significant deficiency … Vitamin D is fat soluble, and distributed into fat, muscle, liver, and serum.
All of these compartments are increased in volume in obesity, so the lower vitamin D likely reflects a volumetric dilution effect and whole body stores of vitamin D may be adequate … Obese people need higher loading doses of vitamin D to achieve the same serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D as normal weight.“
The 2013 study ‘Causal Relationship between Obesity and Vitamin D Status‘ found that for every 10% increase in body-mass index, there’s a 4.2% reduction in blood levels of vitamin D. According to the authors of that particular study, obesity may in fact be a causal factor in the development of vitamin D deficiency.
Considering all of the above information, if you are overweight, have a deficiency in vitamin D and Meniere’s disease, this factor could be even more significant for you to consider.
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