Low Folate and Hearing Loss
In many cases, age-related hearing loss is linked to an amino acid called homocysteine.
Too much homocysteine in your blood is a risk indicator for heart disease,stroke, and dementia.
Excess homocysteine also messes with blood flow to your inner ear, increasing the likelihood that you’ll have trouble hearing your spouse at a crowded dinner party.
The good news is that researchers have found a simple but powerful way to block homocysteine from soaring out of control and thereby prevent or slow age-related hearing loss.
Just take more folic acid.
The Blue Mountains Hearing Study, recently published in the Journal of Nutrition, is the largest study to date to investigate the effect of vitamin B12 and folate on age-related hearing loss.
Serum vitamin B12, folate and homocysteine were measured in 2956 people over the age of 50 years.
Low blood levels of the vitamin folate were associated with a 35% increase in the risk of hearing loss.
Additionally, homocysteine levels greater than 20μmol/L were associated with a 64% increase in the risk of age-related hearing loss.
Most people associate folic acid with foetal development. It’s the nutrient that all newly pregnant (or soon-to-be pregnant) women should take to prevent neural tube defects.
But folate also helps the body breakdown homocysteine.
Folic acid is part of the B vitamin family, as you may remember, and B vitamin deficiencies also can damage the auditory nerves (those related to hearing).
Studies have shown that supplementation with these vitamins is what made all the difference to men and women who wanted to keep their hearing intact.
You can increase your folate intake by eating beans, dark green leafy vegetables (like kale), lentils, organ meats, eggs and barley.
Emed also recommends taking a quality, high strength B-complex supplement. Most of these contain 500 mcg of folic acid.
BioCeuticals Methyl Max
MH Enhance Methyl Factors
If hearing loss is a concern of yours, you can add extra folinic acid (the activated form of folate) on top of that. And remember, all the B-vitamins are water-soluble so anything your body can’t use just gets excreted.
Gopinath B, Flood VM, Rochtchina E, McMahon CM, Mitchell P. Serum homocysteine and folate concentrations are associated with prevalent age-related hearing loss. J Nutr 2010 Aug;140(8).