By Mike Spencer
Founder of Menieres-Help.Com – Supporting sufferers since 2004
Researcher & Author of Managing Meniere’s Disease – How to Live Symptom Free and The Need for Balance – Dealing with the Causes of Meniere’s
Why is Vitamin C so important for managing Meniere’s disease?
Vitamin C and Meniere’s Disease. Vitamin C is perhaps one of the most important nutrients in the regimen of supplements used with such success for over 12 years in keeping
Vitamin C is an integral element not only in the regimen discussed on Meniere’ Help but in other recommendations for Meniere’s from different doctors and nutritionists. It is a potent antioxidant that fights inflammation.
Inflammation is an important aspect involved in causing the symptoms of Meniere’s disease. A closer look at its significance to overall health reveals its value is even greater than initially thought for Meniere’s, especially given what we know about the links of the thyroid to Meniere’s in at least one third of sufferers.
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, meaning that your body doesn’t store it. You have to get what you need from food, such as citrus fruits, broccoli, berries and tomatoes. You need vitamin C for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of your body.
Leftover amounts of the vitamin leave the body through urine. That means you need an ongoing supply of this nutrient in your diet. It also means it makes it very unlikely you can get too much. The body uses what it needs then secretes the rest. When there is inflammation or a cold virus present for example it may use every amount consumed while when your body is otherwise healthy it will use less and expel the rest.
With the constant inflammation related to Meniere’s and the fact it helps the immune system deal with that suggests more is needed and used than in a normal healthy body.
Once Vitamin C is consumed it is dispersed throughout the body. Among the highest levels of vitamin C accumulation are in the adrenal gland and pituitary gland in the endocrine system and therefore related to thyroid function. Both the endocrine system and as stated above the thyroid are connected to Meniere’s in a sizable amount of sufferers. You can read about the connection of endocrine disorders and Meniere’s here.
It is such a powerful nutrient that a recent study presented at the American Physiological Society Conference suggested that vitamin C could promote similar positive effects on the heart to exercise.
Vitamin C is also a cofactor in at least eight enzymatic reactions, including several collagen synthesis reactions that, when dysfunctional, cause the most severe symptoms of scurvy.
The old American nickname of “Limey” for British people comes from the days when sailors sailed across the Atlantic or on other long voyages many would die from lack of nutrition and in particular scurvy.
Ships were eventually loaded with limes (high in vitamin C) to keep the sailors alive. Hence the nickname.
If you think scurvy is only a thing of the past, an 18th century sailor’s disease or something from the history books about Victorian England, you would be wrong.
A multitude of reports over the past few years have revealed the return of this most avoidable condition. 2009 Daily Mail: “Scurvy is making a comeback among England’s children“, 2013 The Telegraph: “Cases of scurvy and rickets have been on the rise in parts of the UK“, 2015 CNN: “Scurvy. TB. Scarlet fever: They’re all back”, 2015 The Express: “Gout, scurvy, rickets and more: Victorian diseases are coming back”, 2015 The Independent: “Cases of diseases rife in the Victorian era including scurvy, scarlet fever, cholera and whooping cough have also increased since 2010″, 2016 BBC: “scurvy is on the rise in England”.
The return of such easily avoidable diseases almost forgotten in the western world in our generation can be put down to many things such as increased poverty through overly harsh austerity measures from governments, malnutrition as a result of modern eating habits, the saturation of junk foods devoid of substantial nutrition and what I would call the criminal demonizing of Vitamin C (and other important nutrients) in certain elements of the media. Media that are funded through constant advertising of drugs.
The result being, as with other vital nutrients RDA’s are lowered, supplementation is scoffed at and the unsuspecting public is horribly deceived and often it would seem undernourished as a result.
Evident from the studies cited below, many people are not getting enough Vitamin C.
A 2004 government study published in the American Journal of Public Health reported that “vitamin C deficiency and depletion were common” and concluded that, “Health professionals should recommend consumption of vegetables and fruits rich in vitamin C and should recommend supplementation for individuals at risk of vitamin C deficiency”
You have to ask yourself why so many doctors scoff at and dismiss the importance of nutrition while happily doling out prescription after prescription of synthetic drugs.
The answer is simple. It is all about the power of money. Most medical schools are funded one way or another by huge pharmaceutical corporations.
That might explain why the average time spent studying, what is arguably the most vital aspect of human health, ‘nutrition’ is often less than one day! This is almost treating the subject as if it were a side issue when in reality it is fundamental to the biological health of every cell in the body and therefore fundamental to human health, period.
Good people wanting to help the sick, paying extortionate fees for years of medical school it could be argued in some cases are merely being trained to become disease detectives for drug companies. Role: Detect disease state and prescribe recommended drugs.
That is not denigrating some of the amazing work doctors do, especially surgeons, but where are the ‘cures’? When was the last time your heard of a drug actually being a definitive cure for anything? You will be very hard pressed to find a single drug that actually ‘cures’ anything. The roll of drugs is merely to ‘treat symptoms’. Treating symptoms, and therefore the perpetual writing of prescriptions is profitable; cures are not. That is the harsh reality.
Given that every cell in the human body is made up of or utilizes nutrients and every organ needs nutrients to function I would argue this lack of education on the subject could be considered criminal negligence or gross incompetence.
You also have to ask yourself why doctors who do have a good understanding of nutrition and promote the importance of it are often demonized, derided and attacked, mainly in the media. And why would something so fundamentally important in health be considered ‘alternative’ medicine?
Again, it comes down to money. Who funds, for the most part, the media outlets through massive advertising? Drug companies.
The Journal of General Internal Medicine published a 2008 study titled ‘Scurvy Is Still Present in Developed Countries’ and pointed out that both Vitamin C and Zinc deficiency are a problem.
Both nutrients are very relevant to Meniere’s Disease, especially when related to thyroid dysfunction.
The point of this article is not so much to point out deficiencies as to bring attention to the importance of Vitamin C to Meniere’s sufferers on several different levels.
One of the most famous proponents of high dose vitamin C treatment for colds and other disease was Linus Pauling, a physical chemist and peace activist who won two Nobel Prizes, one for chemistry in 1954.
The New Scientist magazine ranked him as one of the 20 greatest scientists to ever live.
While the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin C had been established at 40 to 60 mg per day — an amount more than sufficient to prevent scurvy — Pauling advocated amounts of 1,000 mg or even higher. Much of the scientific literature published on vitamin C in the two decades since Pauling’s death has supported his claims.
One point to remember is that RDAs are MINIMUM recommendations, NOT MAXIMUM LIMITS. This is an important misperception.
Dr. Frei, a researcher at Harvard University’s Department of Nutrition said in an interview with Dr Mercola (one doctor who specializes in nutritional health) that interest in vitamin C was renewed when it became known that many degenerative diseases involve oxidation, “and it is clear that vitamin C can very effectively prevent many of these oxidation processes, because it is a very strong antioxidant,” he said.
Preventing oxidation and inflammation is what is believed to be the key element in the concept of how nutrition keeps sufferers symptom free using the supplement regimen discussed on Meniere’s Help.
A large, decade-long research study led by Dr. James Engstrom at the UCLA also found that men who took 800 mg of vitamin C per day — which is more than 10 times the RDA — had less heart disease and lived up to six years longer than those following the conventional guideline of 60 mg/day.
Another study published in Life Extension Magazine in 1996, found that seniors who took high-potency vitamin C and E had an overall reduced mortality rate of 42 percent.
Low potency “one-a-day” multiple vitamins had no beneficial effect on mortality. 40 studies have also shown that people who eat vitamin C-rich diets have a lower incidence of cancer.
We can establish its importance as an antioxidant and its power to help reduce inflammation therefore helping keep Meniere’s sufferers symptom free simply from the results sufferers have reported to Meniere’s Help over the past 12 years. But is it even more vital than originally thought given its importance to thyroid function and the endocrine system and their connections to both overall immune health and Meniere’s Disease?
There is a relation between oxidation and thyroid dysfunction. Numerous studies have confirmed the presence of excess oxidative stress and a deteriorated antioxidant defense system in thyroid conditions. In fact, a large experimental study published in the BMC Endocrine Disorders journal reported that all subjects with benign or malignant thyroid disease had low levels of antioxidants, particularly with selenium, zinc, and vitamin C.
While low levels of selenium and zinc were not found in all subjects, low levels of vitamin C were.
This confirms an association with vitamin C deficiency and thyroid function. One reason why vitamin C may be deficient in all people with thyroid conditions could be a result of adrenal fatigue. This brings us to yet another link to Meniere’s Disease, stress.
As mentioned above, the adrenal gland contains the highest concentration of vitamin C in the body. In fact, the vitamin plays a crucial role in both the adrenal cortex and adrenal medulla which are responsible for responding to stress.
According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vitamin C secretion is part of the body’s stress response. Excessive stress, along with insufficient intake of vitamin C, can create a deficiency that leads to adrenal stress.
Countless studies show chronic adrenal stress disrupts the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. Because thyroid hormone is directed by the hypothalamus and the pituitary glands, anything that disrupts the HPA axis will affect thyroid function.
Are you starting to see the cycle of possibilities here? Stress (known trigger or cause), adrenal-pituitary-endocrine-thyroid (all linked to Meniere’s in some people), oxidation and inflammation (linked to degenerative diseases including Meniere’s), Vitamin C (the common nutrient that makes the difference either way.)
If you do not see it yet then read the links between thyroid and Meniere’s plus endocrine system and Meniere’s linked at the bottom of the page.
Continuing along this theme, in addition to the above, Vitamin C actually helps thyroid medication.
For those who opt for thyroid medication rather than nutrition many still experience symptoms which indicate medication may not fully work towards thyroid homeostasis (balance).
The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism studied the effects of vitamin C on the absorption of a synthetic T4 hormone with 31 patients who either had autoimmune thyroiditis or idiopathic hypothyroidism. Prior to the study, all patients were not in good control when taking the synthetic T4. Serum concentrations of T3, T4, and TSH were measured at particular intervals after vitamin C therapy.
All three concentrations were improved while taking vitamin C. TSH decreased in all patients and normalized in nearly 55 percent of them. T4 was higher with 30 of the 31 patients, and T3 was increased with all patients tested. These findings are very significant regarding the role of vitamin C and thyroid function.
Vitamin C has been shown to help thyroid function. One of the leading experts on treating thyroid disease, the late Dr. John C. Lowe, recommended the highest doses of vitamin C to bowel tolerance for four weeks as therapy.
We already know through the experience of multiple thousands over 12 years that using the supplement regimen can lead to a life with little to no symptoms. We have long known that the grapeseed extract, a vitamin C /flavonoid combination is one of the most important elements and can make all the difference.
Given the right nutrients in the right amounts the body has amazing self healing powers. This is the natural role of the immune system.
In the book Managing Meniere’s Disease – How to Live Symptom Free I focus very much on triggers and getting to the root cause of your Meniere’s symptoms then eliminating it.
The supplements are also discussed however. The supplements used are not seen as a treatment nor a cure. The concept is that by feeding your body the correct nutrients in sufficient amount to keep your immune system strong and healthy it will deal with the inflammation causing your symptoms naturally.
It has proven very successful.
Looking at the role of Vitamin C and other nutrients in a healthy thyroid gland and endocrine system, it may be that in some cases nutrition could indeed be classed as a cure.
There are reasons why even eating what you may think is a healthy diet might not be enough (see The Case for Supplementation and Organic Food) but below are some of the best foods naturally rich in vitamin C.
Good sources of Vitamin C:
Mulberries, Strawberries, Acerola cherries, Citrus Fruits (oranges, grapefruits, lemon and limes), Papayas, Black currants, Kiwis, Bell peppers, Guava, Brussels sprouts, Melons, Dark leafy greens, Amalaki Fruit, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Tomatoes, Some herbs ( cilantro, chives, thyme, basil and parsley)
Important factors that affect absorption of Vitamin C and Meniere’s disease:
As Vitamin C is water soluble anything that has diuretic effects can possibly cause depletion. Caffeine is also a stimulant and can too much can quickly increase Meniere’s symptoms such as tinnitus and pressure in the ear.
Studies show that people who smoke 20 cigarettes a day have 40% less Vitamin C in their blood than non-smokers. At the same time your body needs even more Vitamin C to counteract the damage that smoking causes to your cells.
Prolonged stress also depletes Vitamin C and this is why you should take extra Vitamin C during periods of stress. A study at the University of Trier in Germany, showed that the stress indicators (both physical and mental) as well as the recovery from stress, were consistently lower in people with high levels of Vitamin C.
Drugs including aspirin, birth control medications, anti-inflammatory drugs such as PREDNISONE and DIURETICS (source: university of Maryland-Medical Center)
Thiazide Diuretics are one of the most commonly prescribed medicines for Meniere’s treatment. When prescribing diuretics the treating doctor will often advise you to eat plenty of potassium rich foods or even prescribe potassium supplements to offset the side effect of depletion. However what is rarely if ever discussed or considered is that these diuretics also deplete several other minerals AND ascorbic acid – VITAMIN C.
So above we see two known triggers, caffeine and stress and two commonly prescribed types of drugs for Meniere’s, Thiazides and prednisone possibly depleting Vitamin C.
Bottom line: Vitamin C is important for everyone, not least for Meniere’s sufferers and the information above should make it obvious that eating foods rich in vitamin C and/or supplementing is essential to help reduce, eliminate or avoid increases in Meniere’s symptoms.
High Dose Vitamin C for Disease States
Help Other Meniere’s Sufferers. What are your experiences with or thoughts on what you have read here? Tell us all about it in the comments box below or email Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org