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Tinnitus Library

Ask Barry - September 2005

Do you have questions about tinnitus, our products or specific treatments? Ask Barry. Arches President Barry Keate will select the most representative questions each month publication. Regardless all questions will receive a personal reply from Barry.

ASK BARRY Tinnitus expert, Barry Keate, answers your questions about Tinnitus Send your question to:  Ask Barry

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NOTE: Ask Barry is pleased to be able to answer your questions based upon the information we have available. Our answers to your email inquiries are not substitutes for a physician's advice nor are they reviewed by a physician. If you are under a physician's care, please share with your doctor any suggestions you have received from Ask Barry

This Month's Questions:

Hyperbaric Chamber for tinnitus?

Hello Barry, I have been told that Hyperbaric Oxygen Chambers have been effective in the relief of tinnitus. Is this correct?

Regards, Frank R. See

Dear Frank; Hyperbaric oxygen has been frequently used for tinnitus. Opinions on results vary but it seems to be quite helpful for some. There are no highly controlled clinical trials on this treatment, though there are a few small, non-controlled trials that show promise. It does seem to be very helpful for sudden sensorineural hearing loss so I cannot see how it would not be helpful for tinnitus.

The idea behind this therapy is that the blood supply becomes saturated with oxygen. The increased oxygen in the cochlea facilitates recovery of damaged hair cells. It is being used extensively in Germany for acute sensorineural tinnitus.

Thank you for your question; I believe it will be a good subject for a future article. I will research it more intensively and present what I find in the near future.

Wishing you quiet times, Barry Keate

NAC for hearing loss?

Dear Barry, I have read that N-Acetyl-L Cysteine and Acetyl-L-Carnitine are being studied as possibly preventing hearing loss caused by loud noise. I have not read any specific dose recommendations nor have I seen the subject of tinnitus mentioned. Do you have any information? Many thanks.

Sincerely Dave

Dear Dave; N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC) and Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALC) have both been studied for preventing hearing loss. Much of the work has been conducted by the US Navy. NAC is the precursor to Glutathione, the primary antioxidant in the cochlea. Additionally, ALC has been studied for its ability, over time, to repair neuronal damage, such as that caused by noise exposure. I highly recommend both.

We published an article last year on Antioxidants and Tinnitus. The second half of this article discusses the biological process that leads to hearing loss, neuron death and NAC’s role in preventing this. 

Earlier this year we published an article about supplements that can help prevent decline and repair neuronal damage. ALC is one of the primary supplements for this function. Since ALC increases the conversion of fuel into energy, thereby increasing oxygen free radicals, it should also be used with Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA), a potent cellular antioxidant.

Dr. Michael Seidman has done extensive research into supplements for hearing loss and tinnitus. He states, ”We have strong scientific evidence that Body Language Vitamin Company's Anti-age/Energy formula can slow and in some cases reverse sensorineural hearing loss. This is the basis of a patent that was awarded to Dr. Seidman in the late 90's. Additionally, there is compelling evidence to support the use of lecithin (phosphatidylcholine) to slow and possibly reverse noise and age-related hearing loss. BLV Co has designed the absolute best essential oils formula that includes lecithin (phosphatidylcholine). The balance of essential oils in our body is critical to optimum health. Lastly the importance of N-acetyl cysteine and grape seed extract (resveratrol) and others cannot be underestimated. There is extensive evidence in the literature and it is the basis of two grants that I have that show the benefits of these compounds and their ability to slow and reverse many of the aging processes including hearing loss. We also have an excellent presentation on novel ways to treat sensorineural hearing loss. I presented this to the Academy of Sciences in Prague and to an international symposium on hearing loss. The long story short is we can certainly help.”

NAC is very inexpensive and can be found in better health food stores. You cannot take too much NAC as it is water soluble and any excess flushes through the body. I recommend 500 to 1,000 mg per day, divided in two equal doses.

ALC and ALA are quite a bit more expensive than NAC. Dr. Seidman recommends using 600 mg of ALC and 150 mg of ALA daily, in one dose. These components can be found in a product manufactured by Dr. Seidman called the Anti-Age/Energy Formula. It also contains 60 mg of Co Enzyme Q-10 and 30 mg of Glutathione. Arches Tinnitus Formulas proudly offers Dr. Seidman’s product on our website. You can see product details HERE .

Wishing you quiet times, Barry Keate

Zinc dosages and tinnitus. Barry, What is the maximum amount of zinc I should take through supplements?

Thanks David

Dear David; This is a somewhat complicated question. Clinical studies have shown that 50 mg of chelated zinc daily is therapeutic for tinnitus. You should not take over 50-60 mg of zinc daily for a long period of time, longer than three months. Zinc competes with copper and manganese for absorption and you can become deficient in these two minerals if you do. Deficiency can lead to anemia, fatigue, skin rashes and hair loss.

Some people who have tinnitus partially or wholly due to zinc deficiencies can take higher amounts for up to three months. A few doctors prescribe up to 100 mg zinc daily for three months and I have heard some good reports from people who have taken this amount. If you take this high amount, you should also add 2-3 mg of copper and 5-10 mg of manganese (not magnesium) to your daily regimen. Remember, do not use this large amount for over three months.

I had wanted to include a dosage of 50 mg zinc in the daily intake of Arches Tinnitus Relief Formula. Dr. Seidman strongly advised us against this. His point was that since many people take other dietary supplements that contain zinc, we could be adding too much and potentially do harm. For this reason we include 30 mg zinc in the daily dose of Arches TRF. According to Dr. Seidman, 30 mg is still a very therapeutic dosage. We advise people that if they are not taking other zinc supplements, they can add 20-25 mg of chelated zinc daily.

A word about chelation (pronounced kee-lay-shun). This is a process of combining zinc with an amino acid for improved absorption. Elemental zinc is extremely difficult to absorb and only about 5% is usable by the body. Chelation improves absorption rates to approximately 90%. After absorption the zinc separates from the amino acid and is available for use in the body. Zinc that is chelated has many different names. It is called zinc glycinate, zinc gluconate and zinc methionate, among others. Generally the suffix will end with “ate”. Arches TRF uses premium quality zinc glycinate.

Some vitamin manufacturers use an inexpensive and mostly ineffective form of zinc called zinc oxide. About 35% of zinc oxide is absorbed. Manufacturers such as Centrum, One-A-Day and other mass market vitamin products use zinc oxide in order to minimize costs. If you are using one of these products, divide the amount of zinc listed on the label by 3 to determine how much is available for use.

Wishing you quiet times, Barry Keate

NOTE: Ask Barry is pleased to be able to answer your questions based upon the information we have available. Our answers to your email inquiries are not substitutes for a physician's advice nor are they reviewed by a physician. If you are under a physician's care, please share with your doctor any suggestions you have received from Ask Barry.