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.
‘Endolymph’ is the fluid that can be found in the labyrinth of the inner ear. In study’s done in 2001 it was concluded that the inner ear has a lymphatic drainage system connected to the lymph nodes close by in the neck.
The lymphatic system is the body’s drainage system. It is a complex network of vessels throughout the body that is designed to drain fluid from the tissues of the body and return the fluid to the circulatory system. The lymphatic system is also an integral part of the immune system.
If there is a build up of fluid inside the ear causing hydrops (inflammation or swelling) then it would make perfect sense to assume taking action to help the fluid drain away would reduce or relieve the symptoms that result from this excess fluid. After all the whole concept of an endolymphatic shunt is ‘drain’ the excess fluid away. Is it necessary to have such invasive surgery or can this fluid be drained into the lymphatic system as it should be through other means?
In the ‘Compendium of Dr Vodder’s Manual Lymph Drainage’ Renato Kasseroller is quoted as saying in relation to Meniere’s Disease:
“Experience has shown that improving the rheology (the ability to flow or be deformed ) and Lymphatic drainage flow also improves the symptoms. These patients usually exhibit clearly discernable paravertebral muscle tension in the neck region.
Treatment always begins with draining the cervical Lymph nodes of the neck, beginning with the nape, and head. After that specialized therapeutic techniques are applied to the ear, inner ear along with internal oral drainage.
The extensor musculature of the back is also treated. Treatment time is around 45 minutes, with daily sessions at first. After about two weeks 2-3 sessions per week are enough. The attacks will become less frequent and less severe.”
I have serious personal doubts over the claim, “After about two weeks 2-3 sessions per week are enough. The attacks will become less frequent and less severe.” I can find no studies showing this and more importantly in my eyes I have seen no evidence from the thousands of sufferers who have contacted Meniere’s Help in the past.
That said, if I have learnt one thing in my years of support work and research it is to not discount anything off hand. Just because nobody is talking about it, just because I cannot find studies, it doesn’t mean it is not a valid treatment option. There are plenty of solutions to Meniere’s disease that we spoke of and were laughed at, discounted or attacked in the early years of Meniere’s Help. Now I see them spoken of commonly in online support groups and even by medical professionals.
So with that said, MLD may have some very beneficial effects and provide relief to the sufferer.
It is claimed that scientific studies have proven that the immune system is supported and even boosted as a result of receiving regular MLD treatments. A sluggish lymphatic system increases the chance of chronic illness and disease.
In addition to helping relieve Meniere’s, It is also claimed that MLD treatments can relieve tinnitus and sinusitis . Tinnitus is one symptom of Meniere’s and the sinuses are an important factor in many sufferers.
Among the emails sent to Meniere’s help from sufferers over the past 13 years, I could only find one that mentions Lymphatic drainage therapy or MLD and in this person’s case it didn’t prove successful.
So I went online to see if I could find anecdotal evidence from sufferers, either good or bad.
The first case I found was a lady who claimed she had reversed the symptoms of Autoimmune Inner ear Disorder (AIED) including regaining her hearing. In addition to AIED she also had several other conditions and had this to say:
“I have systemic autoimmune problems affecting my joints, thyroid, digestive tract and I’ve been diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome which is autoimmune and affects eyes, mouth etc. The lymphatic drainage therapy positively affected all of these to a lesser degree.
After one year, I returned for a hearing test. My left ear was completely normal. I could hear in my right ear at 25 decibels and could distinguish words at 98%. I continue to have mild tinnitus in the right ear.
At two years, I have maintained the improvement. The downside is that I find I must continue the lymphatic drainage therapy to maintain the improvement—although on a greatly reduced schedule. And, insurance won’t pay for it.”
I trawled the FB Meniere’s groups to see if anyone was commenting about Manual Lymphatic drainage. I found a few posts but not many comments. The comments were mixed in terms of results:
One post showed a video regarding a self MLD technique (see video below). Some comments on this post were:
“ Just gave it a shot while I was watching it. First up, I did feel a relief of pressure in my ears. Prior to starting I had a lot of pressure but low level dizziness. The pressure seems to have reduced but dizziness has increased a lot.”
“I tried it and it took a lot of pressure off my ears they don’t feel as full and my tinnitus has eased off a little And my head doesn’t feel as foggy.”
“I have, for the past year or so. I use it whenever my ears feel too full. It seems to help.”
FB Comments regarding MLD therapy on other posts:
“I already get MLD for a lymph condition I have in my arms and legs. No help for my MD.“
“I tried it and had terrible headache might Ave just been a coincidence.”
From Menieres disease UK forum:
“About a month ago I entered the best vestibular health I have ever had (with Vitamin supplements, massage, osteopathy, low salt diet and manual lymphatic drainage)”
The Lymphatic system drains and filters lymph circulating around the body. Unwanted contaminants are cleansed and clean fluid re-enters the blood stream. Primary lymphoid organs include the thymus, bone marrow and fetal liver.
Bone marrow and the thymus are vital to the immune system. Dysfunction in the thymus leads to problems with T-cell regulation. T-cell regulation has been linked to Meniere’s disease. Read more on T-cells and Meniere’s here.
If lymphatic fluid, lymph, is not drained and filtered properly it will re-enter the blood stream contaminated. Its primary re-entry point is in the base of the neck on the left. If contaminants are not drained they will accumulate locally around the body and can cause states of dis-ease.
Could the endolymphatic sac be one of these accumulation points?
Could the constant elevated immune response to that accumulation of contaminants in the endolymphatic sac be what results in Meniere’s symptoms? Could the fluctuations in symptoms be a result of partial drainage at times and more accumulation and blockage at others? Could natural remission be a result of enough of these contaminants being drained properly at that time?
After all it is believed that approximately one-third of Meniere’s disease cases seem to be of an autoimmune origin. It is generally accepted that blockage or over production of endolymph within the ear is the cause of hydrops. If, as studies show the inner ear has a drainage system to the lymph nodes then ‘drainage’, or the lack of it, would seem an obvious candidate for cause and treatment.
It would make a lot of sense, and something to consider despite the somewhat hypothetical nature of the questions.
You can look at all science and possibilities but the simple fact that if there is an accumulation of lymphatic fluid in the inner ear and manipulative massage can help drain that fluid away then pressure should reduce within the ear.
In theory and from the claims of therapists who practice MLD it would make perfect sense that this could help reduce symptoms. But as yet we have very little evidence of this available in the way of first hand accounts from sufferers.
MLD is a specialized technique but you can also practice self lymphatic drainage massage. Watch the video below for self massage for the ear.
(see comments from FB above regarding this video)
Some comments on youtube under this video:
“this worked great!!! i first boiled a pot of water and let the steam cover my face and ear for 5 min allowing the steam to open things up a bit then followed massage techniques on this video, (doing 2 rounds of the massages in one evening).. My ear was feeling full and had tinnitus.. ALL has cleared up!! AND tinnitus gone!!! Thanks so much for posting this video :))”
“Absolutely amazing! I was able to clear my clogged ear by following your instructions.”
“It worked for me! I get tinnitus because of stress and tension in the neck area, and this definitely helped a lot with that.”
“This worked for me! I can hear much better now. Thanks!”
“Thanks, now I’m not dizzy anymore. My ear was bothering me because of my allergies. Now, if I can only stop my ears from buzzing.”
There are many more comments, many positive, some negative and some moronic. None actually mention ‘Meniere’s‘, but several mention sinuses and tinnitus.
The video below is not directly related to the lymphatic system, but claims this technique can help reduce tinnitus headache, vertigo and sinus congestion. Perhaps by combining the two techniques in these videos you can find some quick relief from your symptoms in times of increased pressure.
NOTE: It would be well worth reading the comments under this video on youtube for advice and perspective and some less positive remarks. It seems technique is important. You could make things worse if you pull too hard, but below is a small selection of the many positive comments.
Not a cure for Meniere’s and highly unlikely to be a permanent fix for tinnitus related to Meniere’s. However, if this can give relief when allergies and sinuses are increasing your symptoms, it is well worth trying. Strangely enough, there is certainly more positive feedback found regarding this odd little trick than for MLD.
“absolutely brilliant. Suffering with Migraines and vertigo for yrs and now I feel much better.”
“My ear crackled or popped, it did not hurt at all. Immediately my sinus’ started draining! I always have thick drainage in my throat, constantly clearing it… NOTHING is hanging back there for me to clear! This is freaking incredible.”
“Vertigo is the worst thing ever! Used the techniques and stopped it!”
“I haven’t been able to really breathe through my left nostril for years. My sinuses are terrible. It worked almost instantly! Thank you!”
“I’m a truck driver and have had tinnitus for some time. I tried this technique and it calmed the tinnitus in my right ear almost immediately. Thank you”
“I have suffered with Ménière’s disease for years. I’ll try anything. I did feel a pressure release and something draining. Hopefully this is what I needed.”
“It worked for me! Thank you”
“Holy crap it works!”
“I tried this and the tinnitus volume immediately lowered. That’s quite amazing.”
“Dr. Mendel thank you this has helped get rid of my vertigo. Wow!”
One final note that may give credence theoretically to the benefits of manual lymphatic drainage, the importance of the lymphatic system, the fact that there may be a blockage and also the relevance of the sinuses.
Below is a short excerpt from my own Meniere’s story. I had been almost symptom free for several years. I say almost because I still had hearing loss at that time but then this happened:
“While playing football I broke my cheek bone and eye socket in a clash of heads. It was on the same side as my affected ear and after the initial stunning blow and minutes of intensely heavy pain, blood started pouring down through my left sinus and out of my nose. The blow severed nerves between my eye socket and cheek bone and that left my teeth numb. I was very lucky that the nerves somehow fixed themselves.
The shock was that only minutes after the clash of heads my sinuses felt clearer than I could remember and all my hearing returned! I was so happily surprised that I almost forgot about the painful injury.
For four or five years I had believed, ever since my endolymphatic shunt implant that the hearing in my left ear had been damaged permanently. The hearing only lasted for a few weeks but it had me asking more and more questions.
I had been hearing of so many others regaining their hearing while on the supplements and knew it was possible but in my case, after years with the worst symptoms it had fluctuated then abruptly after the shunt operation it seemed doomed to a permanent low level.
Had the blow moved some skeletal alignment, had it unblocked some tubes, what was going on?”
The blood that was pouring out of my nose was mixed with a clear fluid – lymph!
So, Can Lymphatic Drainage Therapy Relieve Meniere’s Symptoms?
I believe it is worth considering as a valid treatment option. As always with any treatment or therapy, it can depend very much on the practitioner as to whether you get results or not. So second and third opinions are always worth it.
Help other sufferers. We have no first hand accounts that any of this helps so if you have experience with MLD or either of these techniques, email Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org or tell us all about it in the comments box below.
Stopping tinnitus and regaining hearing often seem the two most difficult things to achieve for some Meniere’s sufferers. But it can be done.
Audiologists are now accepting that prevention is possible through the correct diet but restoring hearing is a whole different matter. I was told by ENT doctors and audiologists that restoration of my hearing was impossible. I was told with each vertigo attack the nerve endings inside the ear were being destroyed and I would have to accept the fact I would be deaf. How deaf would depend on the level of hearing at the “burn out stage” of Meniere’s disease.
There is only a ‘burn out’ stage if the symptoms of Meniere’s are allowed to continue long term and even then there is no guarantee it will actually burn itself out. In fact I received an email days ago from a lady who had been suffering for 5 decades! Most of what I was told in the early days of my Meniere’s has been contradicted since or been simply proven to be wrong.
Sufferers who contact Meniere’s Help almost always tell of similar gloom and doom prophesies from their treating medical professionals.
However, before we go into the science and evidence in medical studies that contradict these passively accepted ‘beliefs’, I have to point out that many success stories tell of sufferers regaining their hearing and completely freeing themselves of Meniere’s, period.
In my own case, the return of my hearing was a long time coming, full of contradictions and paradoxes. For the first 5 years of my Meniere’s ‘experience’ my hearing had fluctuated greatly from terrible to almost perfect as pressure, dizziness and tinnitus increased and subsided and full blown vertigo attacks came and went. I then made the mistake of having an endolymphatic shunt implant. It was not only ultimately unsuccessful (and expensive at around $10,000) but following the surgery my hearing no longer fluctuated but remained at a very low level.
I like many other people found relief from the vertigo and dizziness through dietary changes and the use of a quality supplement regimen. I was free of all the symptoms of Meniere’s except a very slight tinnitus. My hearing was better but nowhere near the levels on good days prior to the shunt implant. This was the case for ten years.
Other people using the same supplement regimen regularly contacted me with their success stories (some of which you can read elsewhere on this blog) and many would tell stories of how their hearing had returned. I was excited for them but rather envious too. I cursed the day I had decided to have that shunt implant. Knowing that so many others were regaining their hearing on the same regimen I was using and knowing how my hearing worsened following the implant, I was certain I was doomed to a life of deafness in my left ear.
The stories of others regaining their hearing didn’t really surprise me. Shortly after my audiologist in London had told me my hearing would never return, I went into remission naturally and suffered no symptoms at all for about 9 months. My hearing returned completely at that time.
Several years later (after the surgery) I suffered a head injury playing football. I broke my eye socket and cheek bone on the side of the affected ear. Within minutes of the injury, blood and clear fluid poured down through my sinus and out of my nose. Very quickly I noticed my sinus and my ear felt clearer than I could ever remember and suddenly I noticed I could hear very clearly through my affected ear. It was strange moment; in agony from the broken bones but elated because I could hear again.
The hearing slid back down again over the following weeks but this experience threw up many questions, the answers to which both challenged and contradicted conventional ‘beliefs’ among the mainstream medical community regarding Meniere’s. Answers that eventually resulted in the understanding as to why there is such widespread passive acceptance by ENT doctors and Meniere’s ‘specialists’ that there was no known cause of Meniere’s and no known cure.
It is important to understand that there is no known ‘definitive’ cause and therefore no known ‘definitive’ cure. The reasons for this are simple. There are several root causes and therefore several routes to finding your individual cure. Although the resulting symptoms are the mostly the same, the roots of these symptoms can be very different in each individual case. So the answers for each case will be different.
So then, regarding the prevention and yes, the restoration of your hearing – it can be done, has been done and is being done all the time; just as sufferers can free themselves of Meniere’s completely, have done and are doing so all the time.
In my case, after living free of all other symptoms for 10 years through dietary means, it wasn’t until I was worked on by an excellent chiropractor in Japan in 2012 that my hearing returned to normal and I could say with full confidence that I no longer had ‘Meniere’s Disease”. I no longer need that expensive supplementation, though I do eat healthily and help run an organic fruit farm.
If your treating doctor has told you, ‘there is nothing more to be done, take the drugs and lean to live with it‘ then it is down to you to get proactive, informed, and take the appropriate action needed in your individual case. This could be something you do yourself or by seeking out the appropriate health professional depending on your own individual case. Often, the roots of your symptoms can be where you least expect it and not in the realms of consideration or knowledge of ENT doctors.
After years of supporting sufferers and preaching the benefits of diet, my focus for the past 8 years of research and writing has been almost totally on root causes and how to correct them.
I have over 20 years association with this condition. 7 years of suffering, 13 years of support work and now nearly 8 years of research and writing about solutions for Meniere’s sufferers. I formally studied clinical nutrition for 4 years prior to starting serious research, corresponded with and spoke to health professionals and thousands of other sufferers who were able to live symptom free through lifestyle changes and dietary changes, including supplementation. So I know the importance and significance of what we eat and drink.
The studies and information cited below regarding prevention of hearing loss, restoration of hearing and ear health in general underscore the importance of what you eat.
When asking yourself if it is indeed even possible to restore hearing, apart from the success stories that prove it is, consider the study of epigenetics. Long before the focus became on modification, epigenetics showed us that DNA can repair itself naturally.
Just as in the study of cellular biology shows us that cells regenerate either healthily or unhealthily depending on their environment. Both of these factors are influenced by what we eat. In fact they rely on it. The DNA and cells in your ear are no different in this respect. You can restore your hearing, provided no destructive surgery has taken place.
What helps to restore hearing
In 2014 PubMed.gov published the findings of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1999–2002 in the USA regarding ear health.
In the paper titled: ‘Healthy Diets, Healthy Hearing’ It was established that “a significant relationship between dietary nutrient intake and susceptibility to acquired hearing loss is emerging.”
The results of the survey showed, “we found a significant negative relationship between dietary quality and thresholds at higher frequencies, where higher dietary quality was associated with lower hearing thresholds.”
It concluded that, “The current findings support an association between healthier eating and lower high frequency thresholds in adults.”
Nutritional imbalances are increasingly thought to be a causative factor in hearing loss, tinnitus and in many cases Meniere’s in general. Nutrients found to be especially beneficial for protecting and improving hearing are astaxanthin, vitamin A, folate, zinc and magnesium.
The nutrients listed above support hearing health by, among other things:
Protecting against oxidative stress in the cochlea
Preventing free radical damage
Improving blood flow, thereby reducing cochlear damage related to a compromised vascular system
Improving homocysteine metabolism
Vitamin A and E
In 1984 a European study reported a 5 to 15 decibel improvement in patients with age-related hearing loss when given vitamins A and E. Other research concluded that vitamin A deficiency results in a decline in the number of sensory cells in the nose, tongue and inner ear.
In 2009, Japanese researchers found that adults with the highest blood serum levels of vitamin A and carotenoids have the lowest risk for hearing loss.
In 2014, researchers determined that vitamin A deficiency during pregnancy, especially during the early stages of fetal development ‘may predispose offspring to inner ear malformations and sensorial hearing loss.
Research has shown zinc may be useful for idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL). Although this is not considered Meniere’s of course, the interesting thing is, SSNHL is thought to be viral in origin, and over half of SSNHL sufferers regain their hearing.
Zinc has anti-viral properties, and studies have shown it can prevent common cold viruses from replicating or attaching to your nasal membranes. Zinc also has immune-boosting properties, allowing your body to mount a stronger first response at the onset of a viral infection.
A study published in Laryngoscope and on PubMed in 2011 had this to say about zinc:
“There was a significant correlation between serum zinc level changes and post treatment hearing thresholds by correlation analysis, as well as between changes of serum zinc levels and percentage of recovery in the zinc group.
Zinc supplementation may enhance the hearing recovery of SSNHL patients. Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects may help reduce the oxidative stress of the cochlea in SSNHL, implying a new direction in the treatment of this disease.”
This is significant for its relevance to the ear in general but also in that the root cause of Meniere’s in some people may be viral related.
Note: Excess zinc can cause problems, so it should be obtained through a well balanced diet and/or the use of quality, balanced supplementation in the form of multi vitamin/minerals. Indiscriminately taking zinc supplements can lead to nausea, stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhea, increase the chances of prostrate cancer in men and interfere with your body’s ability to absorb other minerals, which may lead to anemia.
Some good dietary sources of zinc are: pumpkin seeds, ground sesame seeds, cashews, almonds, crimini mushrooms, spinach, sea vegetables and cheddar cheese.
Medical News Today reported in 2014 that a study showed:
“48 percent of SSNHL patients achieved recovery after receiving intravenous magnesium in combination with carbogen inhalation (a mixture of carbon dioxide and oxygen gas). Another 27 percent experienced significant improvement.”
It has to be noted in this study it was stated that the effectiveness of the treatment was reduced in patients who had vertigo. The article linked to above explains why magnesium can be so important for Meniere’s none the less.
Folate (Vitamin B9) has been shown to lower tinnitus. Folate also lowers your homocysteine, and having a high blood level of homocysteine has been linked to ‘age-related’ hearing loss.
Dr Mercola explains,
“There is good reason to consider getting your folate from food rather than folic acid supplements. In order for folic acid to be of use to your body, it must first be activated into its biologically active form — L-5-MTHF. This is the form that is able to cross the blood-brain barrier.
It’s been estimated that nearly half of all adults have difficulty converting folic acid into the bioactive form because of a genetic reduction in enzyme activity. For this reason, if you take a B-vitamin supplement, make sure it contains natural folate rather than synthetic folic acid.”
Good sources of folate are: Asparagus, spinach, turnip greens, broccoli, beans and lentils.
Christopher Spankovich, who has been studying the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1999–2002 mentioned above states that,
“Some work that I did (Spankovich et al., 2011) demonstrated a relationship between vitamin C, vitamin E, magnesium, and lycopene with better auditory function and higher cholesterol and fat with poorer auditory function. Gopinath et al. (2011b) found a significant relationship between increased odds of hearing loss with higher dietary cholesterol intake. There also is research data showing increased odds of hearing loss with higher carbohydrate and sugar intake (Gopinath et al., 2010).”
Spankovich was also quoted in 2013 in the International Journal of Audiology as stating:
“a significant relationship between dietary nutrient intake and susceptibility to acquired hearing loss is emerging.”
An Australian study published in the International Journal of Nutrition in 2010 showed that diets high in sugar and carbohydrates detrimentally impacts hearing.
Research reported in the December 2010 issue of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery indicates that deficiencies in folic acid and B12 impinge on hearing by harming the nervous and vascular systems and perhaps even damaging the coating over the cochlear nerve.
Studies have shown that resveratrol found in grapes and wine dramatically lowered the amount of COX-2 in the inner ears of rats after exposure to 24 hours of noise. COX-2 is a protein that causes inflammation and may contribute to hearing loss. This may be one reason why Meniere’s sufferers have such positive results with grape seed extract.
The American Journal of Otolaryngolgy published a study in 1993 suggesting Vitamin B12 deficiency can result in tinnitus and noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).
The results of the study showed, Patients with tinnitus and NIHL exhibited vitamin B12 deficiency in 47% of cases. This was significantly more compared with NIHL and normal subjects who exhibited vitamin B12 deficiency in 27% and 19%, respectively.
The author concluded that:
“These observations suggest a relationship between vitamin B12 deficiency and dysfunction of the auditory pathway. “
In 2008, researchers at the University of Michigan reported that a study showed the use of Vitamins A,C and E improved hearing loss by 80%.
A 2010 paper from the University of Western Ontario, ‘The effects of magnesium supplementation on sensorineural hearing damage’ concluded that magnesium supplementation is generally associated with a reduction in hearing damage caused by noise exposure and/or idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss in adults.
In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2013 by doctor Yoon-Hyeong Choi and others, they reported that
“there was a lower degree of hearing loss in the American population among those who took Magnesium and Antioxidant Vitamins. Though Dr Choi studied hearing loss, his results also apply to tinnitus.”
A 1993 study reported in ‘Science’ found that vitamin A can stimulate the regeneration of mammalian auditory hair cells.
Medical News Today reported in 2014 that the protein Neurotrophin-3 (NT3) was used to restore hearing in mice.
It was explained:
“This allows researchers to activate genes in particular cells by administering a drug that prompts the cells to ‘read’ additional copies of a gene that have been inserted into them. For this study, the team used the technique to activate additional NT3 genes that had been introduced to the supporting cells of the inner ear in mice that had been partially deafened by loud noise.
The drug tamoxifen was introduced to the supporting cells in the inner ear, which prompted them to produce extra NT3 protein … The researchers found the mice that had experienced boosted NT3 production regained their hearing over a 2-week period, compared with mice that had not had additional NT3 production …
[T]hey now plan to … identify drugs that produce the same effect as the protein, offering the potential to restore hearing loss in humans. The researchers note that the gene therapy technique used in this study has the potential to work in humans, but that a drug-based method would be ‘simpler’ and a drug could be repeatedly administered for as long as it takes for hearing to be restored.”
However, a Chinese study cited in 2012 in The African Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology showed that the nutrient astaxanthin raises NT3 expression meaning the need for drugs is not necessary.
The two main sources of natural astaxanthin are the microalgae that produce it, and the sea creatures that consume the algae, such as salmon, shellfish and krill.
One study shows that supplementing with 1,200 mg of NAC per day for two weeks significantly decreased noise-related hearing loss of the subjects.
Another study found that taking a NAC supplement did not completely prevent hearing loss, but it did significantly reduce it after prolonged exposure to noise.
Since NAC does not naturally occur in foods, it would appear that you have to take this as a supplement if you want to help your hearing. But if you eat poultry or yogurt, you can get a good amount of cysteine your body can use to make NAC.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a study in 2010 that suggested that increased intake of Omega-3 fatty acids could reduce age related hearing loss.
What do all these studies have in common?
Virtually all the studies above have three things in common:
The growing understanding of the importance of nutrition in ear health
How antioxidants tackle the vastly under reported problem of free radicals in inflammation and therefore in disease states.
The fact that so many people regained their hearing while using the supplement regimen I used is therefore not so surprising after all. The regimen is packed with antioxidants and nutrients that promote blood flow and cardiovascular health.
Such a regimen may compensate somewhat for poor lifestyle choices and poor diets but cannot replace a healthy balanced (preferably organic whole food) diet. The clue is in the word ‘supplementation‘. This form of nutrition is supposed to be used to ‘supplement‘ your diet, not to replace it but rather support it and work in synergy with real whole foods.
The ‘placebo’ effect, at least in my own case and many others is highly unlikely, in fact I believe impossible. Like many, back in 2002 when I first tried supplementation, I did so purely out of desperation, believing I had exhausted all other avenues for relief. I knew nothing of what I know now and frankly didn’t trust or believe in the idea at all. I was so desperate that I would have drunk kitchen bleach if there was a chance it might help.
Ultimately, as I wrote above, it wasn’t until I corrected the root cause of Meniere’s in my case that I regained my hearing. That was not the case for many others though, who regained their hearing purely through the application of nutrition.
Using high end, quality supplements is not cheap and something that usually needs to continue for sufferers to stay symptom free, at least at some level. There are those who would say that is a wise thing because it will help keep you generally healthy, disease free, and full of energy.
Not everyone is fortunate enough to have the money to even try these supplements in the first place, let alone continue with them long term. It would be very frustrating for me in years gone by when I would get mails from people such as single mothers on welfare suffering so badly with no hope at all of affording such supplements.
When I knew the regimen was helping so many others and yet far more people were either unable to afford them or just didn’t believe in them, something had to done to help these people. This was one of the many reasons 8 years ago I decided to research full time and make it my life’s work to identify root causes and ways to deal with these causes. Helping sufferers free themselves of Meniere’s disease, regain their hearing and regain their life should not be so selective. Everyone deserves the chance and should receive all the help they can get. I believe and the evidence from readers suggests it is so, that although my research never ends, I achieved my goal somewhat when I published my second book, The Need for Balance – Dealing with the Causes of Meniere’s.
Regenerating hair cells to treat hearing loss – video
Jeffrey P. Harris, MD, PhD, FACS discusses regenerating hair cells in cases of hearing loss.
You can read success stories elsewhere on this blog but below are a selection of email extracts from people who have overcome Meniere’s and specifically regained their hearing. You can do the same, and don’t let anyone tell you “there is nothing more to be done, learn to live with Meniere’s.” I say, learn to live without it.
“After 3 days my attacks went from one per day to none, after 2 weeks my hearing was back and after 4 weeks my tinnitus could only be heard barely at night.”
“Approximately 8 months I have had no symptoms – have hearing test results that show my hearing loss has improved “
“For the first time in years I can be in loud places, train hard, play Candy Crush and so forth, two tinnitus tones are gone and my hearing improved.”
“Thanks Mike. I’ve been symptom freefor 3 years now. So far so good“
“I bought your 1st book and learned a lot from it. Symptom free for about a year and a half.“
“The “fog” I was living with has subsided and my tinnitus has decreased as well. Earlier this year my hearing was so bad that I was unable to hear the fan that is placed right next to my head at night. For years I have not been able to speak on the phone with my right ear and now I am able to.”
“My husband is now living symptom free.“
“My mother has been very lucky, her Menieres has been cured.“
“Thank you Mike. All of my symptoms have gone away.“
“The pressure did indeed back off which resulted in more low range hearing coming back.“
“I turned to locally grown herbs which are cheaper and I came across morning herb. Using it made a big improvement helping me regain my balance, a good percentage of hearing and no vertigo but slight tinnitus.”
“Duane has noticed that his hearing fluctuates (occasionally) but has improved greatly.“
“By the way, something I did not expect was the fact that I have regained some of my lost hearing. It has been four years since I was able to listen to a telephone conversation in my left ear. I had a conversation with my wife several weeks ago and at the end of the conversation I told my wife I listened to her with my left ear, she could not believe it. I am scheduled for another hearing test and I am excited about the upcoming results. I was not a candidate in the past for a hearing aid, I hope I don’t even need one now.”
“Within one week i had a massive remission of the deafness in my right ear”
All emails used with permission.
So, is preventing deafness and restoring hearing in Meniere’s disease possible?
From the experiences of many Meniere’s Help readers and my own personal experience, I have to say yes it is possible, but it is obviously dependent on many factors and each individual case is different.
Meniere’s Disease or Chiari malformation – which is it?
In my books I cover at length the idiopathic nature of MD and the fact that ‘Meniere’s’ is simply a label for a set of symptoms, the root cause of which can vary from person to person. By identifying the root cause or causes of your Meniere’s disease symptoms in your individual case and correcting or eliminating these causes, it is possible to reduce or eliminate the symptoms themselves.
I recently received an email from the husband of a long term Meniere’s sufferer looking for answers. His wife had recently had a drop attack and ended up in hospital where she was diagnosed with ‘Type 1 Chiari Malformation’.
Study shows Chiari patients have “Meniere’s like syndrome”
In a four year study of 364 Chiari patients (http://asap.org/index.php/medical-articles/four-year-study-of-chiari-i-malformation/) it was found that 74% patients had “Meniere’s like syndrome “: dizziness, disequilibrium pressure in ears, tinnitus, decreased hearing, true vertigo and nystagmus.
This would perhaps be of particular interest to Meniere’s sufferers who also suffer from Migraines as Chiari often results in headaches.
Muskuloskeletal imbalances in the back, neck or jaw are commonly found root causes of Meniere’s symptoms. After correction or treatment in most cases symptoms are reduced or eliminated altogether. The reason that in some cases symptoms are not 100% eliminated may be that there is more than one root cause present in addition to long term damage to hearing nerves.
As I point out in The Need for Balance and back up with scientific medical data, statistics and the experiences of sufferers, there may be more than one cause in each individual case. So it is important to cover all possibilities and deal with them accordingly.
The connection to Meniere’s and mukuloskeletal imbalances such as in the spine is often dismissed by mainstream medicine however the data proves otherwise. In the four year study of Chiari it was found that, in all 364 patients the most common and reliable finding was compression of the CSF spaces posterior and lateral the cerebellum.
Chiari patients are often not aware of the problem. Meniere’s sufferers are often not aware they have neck or spine issues. When chiropractic manipulation is not successful in reducing Meniere’s symptoms in those aware of neck problems, it may be prudent to get checked for Chiari.
According to Mayo clinic Chiari malformation type I occurs when the section of your skull containing a part of your brain (cerebellum) is too small or is deformed, thus putting pressure on and crowding your brain. The lower part, or tonsils, of the cerebellum are displaced into your upper spinal canal.
Dr. Thomas Milhorat, Professor and Chairman of Neurosurgery University of NY, Brooklyn explains things slightly differently:
“CSF [Cerebrospinal fluid] that is compressed has to go somewhere. In man, under normal conditions, we secrete spinal fluid. We can increase that secretion but we cannot decrease it. It happens at .37 cc every minute of our lives. When we’re upright, sleeping, running, resting. We produce 500 cc a day. It’s formed in the ventricles, circulates down through the 3rd ventricle into the aqueduct of Sylvius, into the 4th ventricle. It exits and then it surrounds all the structures of the nervous system. There is a watery bath between brain, spinal cord, cerebellum and the inner table of the skull. In Chiari patients there is reduced volume. Where does it go? Some of it is distributed up into the head, squeezed up and some is squeezed down and this may very well contribute to the formation of SM in some patients. We believe this displacement of spinal fluid into the cranial cavity may be a suitable explanation for the typical Chiari Symptoms. Distribution of CSF out of the posterior fossa into the semi-circular canals can produce in some a sea-sickness syndrome- dizziness, disequilibrium, pressure in the ears, tinnitus, and so forth. It appears to all begin with a too small posterior fossa that compresses the spinal fluid at the back of the head.
Direct bony pressure can also produce complaints. If the compression of the skull is too great, if the retroflexed odontoid (basilar impression) is too great you can have direct compression of cranial nerves or even brainstem. That can produce problems with swallowing, sleep apnea, hoarseness, tremors, and palpitations. Symptoms of Chiari I appear to be due to two basic phenomena that share in common a small back of the skull, a bony dysplagia of the base of the skull and cervical-medullary junction. These are increase of CSF pressure both in the head and in the spinal canal and direct compression of nervous structures. It is not a malformation of the brain itself.”
You can take three things from this article. One, that Chiari should be on your list of possible root causes to investigate. Two, musculoskeletal imbalances are a very real possibility for you to consider.
It would seem Chiari malformation is quite rare and there are many other reasons you may be suffering the symptoms of Meniere’s. That said it may be worth getting checked for this possibility.
Video: What are the symptoms of Chiari Malformation?
Dr. Peter Wehling Founder of The Center for Molecular Orthopedics in Dusseldorf, Germany has developed a procedure where the patient’s own blood is taken, incubated and manipulated then reintroduced into the body and acts as a “natural” anti-inflammatory. Originally this was used for treating sports people to combat chronic pain, usually in joints. The treatment is called “Orthokine” therapy.
Orthokine Therapy is a form of injection therapy, which harnesses and enhances the bodies natural defense mechanisms against inflammation to reduce pain and improve function.
The Orthokine Procedure
Blood is taken from the patient. The procedure is carried out similarly to a blood sampling for laboratory testing and is not pain-associated
Blood is incubated at 37°C, which stimulates the production of IL-1Ra.
Using a laboratory centrifuge to separate the blood components, the protein is extracted
This extraction is filed in ampoules, later available in injection form
The protein is then injected within the painful area of the joints, using CT guidance
Typically, injections are given 1-2 times a week. Treatment for discogenic diseases requires 4 injections, while lesions of the joints of the extremities, a minimum of 6 injections are usually required. Following injections, patients are advised to avoid strenuous exercise for a period of 48 hours. Some side effects may include swelling and numbness around the injection site, which may last around 2 hours
The ear is affected by inflammation in Meniere’s disease and the procedure is said to have been developed further where it may be possible for the hearing and balance nerves damaged by Meniere’s to be healed. Dana White, the UFC President recently received this treatment in Germany is said to feel “cured”.
Orthokine therapy, if available to you, is certainly an option worth investigating.
Can Orthokine therapy work for Meniere’s disease?
Orthokine therapy may come at a cost of a five figure sum and although is becoming more available it is still quite rare (at the time of writing). If you have the kind of money Dana White has then it has to be an option worth considering but for the vast majority it may be financially and practically out of reach for the time being.
As orthokine therapy is not a recognized specific treatment for Meniere’s disease it is unlikely you will be able to get this offered on national health nor be covered by insurance. You will need to find a private clinic and talk about your options.
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