Vitamin B12 deficiency: Do you hear this sound? The lesser-known sign indicating low level
This Morning: Dr Michael Mosley discusses vitamin D dosage
When you subscribe we will use the information you provide to send you these newsletters. Sometimes they’ll include recommendations for other related newsletters or services we offer. Our Privacy Notice explains more about how we use your data, and your rights. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Vitamin B12 performs three major roles in the body – it helps keep the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA, the genetic material in all cells. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), vitamin B12 also helps prevent a type of anaemia called megaloblastic anaemia that makes people tired and weak. Given its outsized contribution, it is little wonder that having low levels of B12 can cause an array of symptoms including an unusual and constant sound in the ears.
Tinnitus is when a person experiences ringing or other noises in one or both of their ears.
The noise you hear when you have tinnitus isn’t caused by an external sound, and other people usually can’t hear it.
Tinnitus is a common problem. It affects about 15 percent to 20 percent of people and is especially common in older adults.
According to medical website LiveStrong, B-12 is needed to produce myelin, the protective and insulative sheath surrounding nerves.
Lack of B12 causes communication between nerves to deteriorate, an impaired mechanism that can lead to tinnitus, explains the health site.
Furthering the claim, an Israeli study published in the American Journal of Otolaryngology found that tinnitus is associated with vitamin B12 deficiency and that patients improved with B12 supplemental therapy.
In a study published in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, the therapeutic role of vitamin B12 in tinnitus was further analysed.
The study noted: “Vitamin B12 deficiency may cause the demyelination of neurons in the cochlear nerve, resulting in hearing loss and tinnitus.
“In addition, low levels of Vitamin B12 and folate are associated with the destruction of the microvasculature of the stria vascularis, which might result in decreased endocochlear potential and in hearing loss and tinnitus.
“A previous study, demonstrated, for the first time, that the relationship between hyperhomocysteinemia induced by folate deficiency and premature hearing loss involves impairment of cochlear homocysteine metabolism and associated oxidative stress.”
According to the NHS, the sound of tinnitus can be like:
- Music or singing
Who’s at risk of a B12 deficiency?
There are two primary causes of B12 deficiency – pernicious anaemia and strictly following certain diets.
Pernicious anaemia is an autoimmune disease that prevents the body from making intrinsic factor – a protein made by the stomach and needed to absorb vitamin B12 in the intestine.
According to the NHS, pernicious anaemia is the leading cause of B12 deficiency in the UK.
Adhering strictly to a vegan or vegetarian diet can also raise your risk of becoming deficient in B12.
Source: Read Full Article