About 1 in 5 Americans over age 12 have hearing problems. That number is bad enough, but by the time you hit 50, your risk skyrockets.
According to data from national health surveys, almost half of all women – and two-thirds of men – suffer with hearing loss by their 70th birthday. That’s more than 26 million people.1
What may be even more shocking… quite a few of those millions may have been able to avoid hearing trouble by taking one simple nutrient. And if you make sure you get enough, you could avoid becoming a statistic.
Millions of adults don’t get enough vitamin B12. And there are a couple of good reasons for this.
First, B12 is only available from animal sources. So vegetarians get virtually none of this critical vitamin in their diet.
You can get B12 as a nutritional supplement. But you have to be sure you’re taking it every day. That’s because B12 is water-soluble. You can’t store it up “for later,” as you can vitamins A or D. Whatever B12 your body doesn’t use fairly soon after you take it, washes out of your body.
Finally, as you age, your body absorbs less and less of the B12 you get. So even if you’re taking a supplement, there’s a chance you’re not absorbing enough.
You may remember I’ve written about B vitamins and keeping mentally sharp. B vitamins are important for nerve development and health. And hearing depends very much on nerves.
That may be why B12 seems to be linked so closely to hearing.
And why so many people with hearing problems are also low on vitamin B12.
Research from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) found a remarkable number of people don’t get enough B12. And the older you get, the greater your chances of being short. About 1 in 5 people over 60 have marginal B12 levels at best.2
These numbers really seem to mesh. An Israeli study found people with low B12 were more than 25% more likely to have noise-related hearing loss than people with healthy B12 levels.
And people with both noise-related hearing trouble and ringing ears were almost 2-1/2 times more likely to have low B12!3
Other types of hearing loss have also been linked to low B12 levels.
When scientists tested a group of otherwise healthy women, they found B12 levels were a clear indicator of hearing trouble.
A group of 55 women – aged 60 – 71 – volunteered to have blood and hearing tests. Women with normal hearing had 38% higher levels of B12 than those with hearing trouble.4
If you’re over 50, you only need about 2.4 micrograms of B12 a day. That’s about as much as you’d get in a 3-ounce serving of salmon. Beef and some shellfish have even more.
But because of absorption issues, I recommend taking a nutritional supplement with B12 as insurance. You can find B12 in most natural multivitamins. But if you’re concerned about your hearing, look for a hearing formula that contains this key vitamin.
Yours in continued good health,
Best Life Herbals Wellness Team
Click here for Best Life Herbal’s Tympanol and Get the Nutrition You Need to Support the Best Hearing Possible.
1 Lin, F.R., et al, “Hearing Loss Prevalence in the United States,” Arch Intern Med. Nov 14, 2011; 171(20): 1851-1852.
2 Allen, L.H., “How common is vitamin B-12 deficiency?” Am J Clin Nutr. Feb 2009; 89(2): 693S-696S.
3 Shemesh, Z. et al, “Vitamin B12 deficiency in patients with chronic-tinnitus and noise-induced hearing loss,” Am J Otolaryngol. Mar-Apr 1993; 14(2): 94-99.
4 Houston, D.K., et al, “Age-related hearing loss, vitamin B-12, and folate in elderly women,” Am J Clin Nutr. March 1999; 69(3): 564-571.
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