Do Vitamins contribute to Hearing Health? An informative article in Healthy Hearing contributed by Joy Victory, Managing Editor.
Many of us know that vitamin D helps our bones and vitamin A is good for vision, but are there any equivalent vitamins for hearing health?
While there is evidence that a healthy diet is linked to a lower risk of hearing loss, no silver bullet nutrient has emerged. And while some studies have surfaced clues about vitamin intake and hearing health, the findings are often contradictory and include important caveats, she noted.
“For example, in animal models, combinations of certain nutrients were protective against hearing loss; however, studies in humans have produced conflicting results,” said Curhan, who researches modifiable risk factors for hearing loss and tinnitus.
What the research shows:
Take vitamin C, for example. Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C is an essential nutrient for bone, skin and blood vessel health.
At least one animal study indicated vitamin C may be protective against noise-induced hearing loss. However, this benefit has yet to be studied in people, and a 2015 observational study found that supplementing with high levels of vitamin C was linked to an increased risk of hearing loss. Therefore, it’s unclear how beneficial vitamin C is for preventing or treating hearing loss.
Carotenoids contribute to the orange color of many different fruits and vegetables and have several functions that are important for human health, including roles in antioxidant defense, cell-to-cell communication, and as a precursor to vitamin A.
In the 2015 study mentioned above, women with higher intakes of two specific carotenoids, beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin, had a lower risk of hearing loss. The study was a large longitudinal study that included more than 65,000 participants in the Nurses’ Health Study II.
Folate, or vitamin B9, is also an essential nutrient; it’s crucial for cell division. It’s found naturally in many foods. (Folic acid is the synthetic form used in food additives and supplements.)
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Susan E. Terry, Au.D., F-AAA, F-NAP
Doctor of Audiology
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