Lutein for hearing health?

#1

Being vegan (but wait! don’t leave!) I am a big fan of NutritionFacts.org. I saw a video on eating healthy to prevent age-related disease which mentioned the supplement lutein (and to a lesser extent ziaxanthin) as being not only key to staving off macular degeneration, but also dementia and its being good for hearing health.

Apparently, looking at the macula is a window into our brain. Measuring the thickness of this protective lutein layer on the macula is a key indicator as to age-related decline in the brain.

Even more intriguing, at 4:48 into the video, a study shows that lutein plays a key role in hearing health! The auditory system - like the rest of our body - is impacted by what we eat. Well, that was enough to send me up to Amazon.com to order a bottle of lutein. I will do some research to see if there are any downsides to this supplement, but given that it looks promising for vision, hearing and brain health, I’d like to add this to the few supplements I take regularly.

Has anyone else ever heard of a connection between lutein and auditory nerve health? Years ago, I was told to take “flushing” niacin and B-100 to try to keep my hearing from slipping off the slope. Given that I’ve slipped from 30 db to 85 db in about 50 years …well, I’m wishing I’d known more and eaten better DECADES ago.

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#2

Hearing is sensitive, and anything that improves your overall health will help to maintain your hearing.

There is clearly an association between various carotenoids and hearing function, but limited evidence at this time that supplementation is beneficial. If I had to guess, I would suggest that an overall healthy diet is going to be better than any targetted supplementation.

(I would also suggest that a healthy diet is primarily one that is very high in vegetables, regardless of whether one eats meat or not.)

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#3

^^^ Thanks for your insights here! I had taken flushing niacin for 25 yrs, till I just couldn’t take that HEAT anymore - I’d just about break out in a rash all over. Now I’m finding that B-100 gives me digestive issues … so I no longer take that daily.

I popped a 40mg lutein last night. Woke up - STILL DEAF as doorknobs. :wink:

I guess I’ll keep eating my veggies. At this level of hearing loss, I’d be happy to just maintain status quo.

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#4

Feed it to my food and I will get it that way. :grin:

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#5

^^^ There ya go! You can eat LOTS of leafy greens (kale, spinach) and get enough lutein on a daily basis. I’m trying to add those leafy greens to at least two meals a day: soup, salad, smoothies, etc.,

Also: the nutrients of these leafy greens is enhanced with LIGHT cooking. I cut up spinach & kale, rinse it in a strainer, and nuke it in the microwave 45 sec to 1 min. It’s limp and BRIGHT green. Easy to add to so many dishes. (Well, except ice cream, but that’s something I avoid anyway.)

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#6

I have macular degeneration and I take a supplement for it that has helped, and I have also noticed that my tinnitus is less noticeable since taking the supplement. Not say my tinnitus is going away just that I don’t notice it as much.

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#7

^^^ What supplement do you take? My mom was taking Longevinex for her macular degeneration. Intrigued, I took it daily for a month. It seemed to give me irregular heartbeats, so I stopped taking it.

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#8

PreserVision AREDS 2 Vitamin & Mineral Supplement, there are two different ones, one smokers and one for none smokers. I don’t smoke so mine is the one for none smokers

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#9

Ah! Very interesting! I see that this is mainly lutein and zeaxanthin. Now I’m encouraged! The fact that this could help with tinnitus is even better, cuz my ears are ringin’ off the hook 24x7. I have my own built-in “white noise” to help me sleep at night. :neutral_face:

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#10

I know what you are going through,I have had it since 1975

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#11

A good summary of vitaming treatment for macular degeneration: https://nei.nih.gov/areds2/PatientFAQ

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#12

My eye doctor recommended what I am taking and it has at slowed and almost stopped my eye disease from advancing.

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#13

Probably one of the best things you can do for your ears diet wise is low salt.

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#14

Why would that be so?

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#15

Lower salt lower blood pressure, and my tinnitus is worst if my blood pressure is elevated any at all

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#16

Lower salt lower blood pressure in salt sensitive individuals. I can imagine that reducing hypertension would help to maintain hearing, but I’m not sure how reducing salt for someone with normal BP would work to help hearing.

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#17

the endolymph in the inner ear is particularly sensitive to salt (Na+, K+). well documented with meniere’s disease, but given the very large umbrella of “meniere’s disease” (very few patients have TRUE meniere’s disease), we see it benefit patients across the board.

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#18

Interesting. Benefit in what way? I would expect the healthy ear to maintain homeostasis. Can you share citations? I’d thought the last thing I’d read had not supported salt restriction as being a useful intervention for Meniere’s. (Edit: Restriction of salt, caffeine and alcohol intake for the treatment of Ménière's disease or syndrome. - PubMed - NCBI)

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#19

Need to be careful what you define as useful: cure? Decrease in severity of symptoms? Decrease in frequency of symptoms? Etc

Research in the area is poor. The article you referenced notes: “MAIN RESULTS: We did not identify any studies that met the inclusion criteria for the review.“

Clinically, we have seen some patients do significantly better (less severe, less frequent attacks) with low salt and diuretics. Likewise, other similarly presenting patients don’t benefit nearly as much. Compliance on something so difficult in America (low salt) is also a major issue in determining efficacy. I can, however, speak from personal experience. I had major hearing loss in 2011 in my left ear after a bad ear infection, in addition to my congenital progressive loss. It left major damage to my inner ear. I would have fluctuating loss. My doc put me on a diuretic and I limited to less than 2g of salt a day, and I noticed a direct correlation with my fluctuating loss with my salt intake (ie, my compliance). After 6 months of a diuretic for solely this purpose, the hearing loss stabilized to what it is today.

Salt and the ear is not a fully understood relationship. However, I would be hard pressed to find any ENT with years experience who would say a high salt diet is beneficial for the inner ear. Take from this what you want. :slight_smile:

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#20

I guess my feelings about this would depend on how strongly the advice/recommendations are given. I don’t think anybody suggests that a high sodium diet is good for you, but it seems like there is considerable doubt as to the benefit of strict sodium restriction. I could see suggesting to somebody that they could consider lowering their sodium consumption, but harranguing them about it would seem to have little evidence to back it up. I’ve been around long enough to see several things that we thought made sense end up being plain wrong: lidocaine for all MIs, estrogen to prevent heart disease in women and Pain as a vital sign are a few that come to mind.

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