Tinnitus could be a sign of a vitamin B12 deficiency – expert

Dr Dawn Harper on signs of vitamin B12 and vitamin D deficiency

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Certain vitamins and minerals are key to our health and wellbeing. Without particular nutrients we can become deficient and even ill. Vitamin B12 is no exception to this.

Mainly found in animal product foods such as meat, cheese and eggs, vitamin B12 is needed to create healthy red blood cells.

These cells are vital for transporting oxygen around the body.

Any issues with these cells, therefore, can cause serious problems.

Doctor Matthew Calcasola, chief medical officer at vitamin drop provider Get A Drip, spoke with Express.co.uk to explain more.

“All B vitamins play a key role in energy production,” he said.

“However, vitamin B12 is particularly important to be aware of, as it can only be consumed via animal-based food sources.

“Those who prefer plant-based or low-meat diets should keep an eye on their B12 levels.”

He listed tinnitus as one sign of a B12 deficiency you might not be aware of.

Dr Calcasola described this as “hearing sounds coming from inside the body, rather than from an outside source”.

Studies have shown that vitamin B12 supplementation can help patients suffering from tinnitus.

One paper, published in Noise and Health journal in 2016, found that subjects showed “significant” improvement in terms of the severity of their tinnitus when provided B12 supplements.

As part of the trial 20 patients were injected with B12 once a week for six weeks and another 20 were injected with a placebo.

Of all the patients 17 were already considered to be deficient in B12.

It said: “A paired t-test showed that in group A [the group given B12], patients with vitamin B12 deficiency showed significant improvement in mean tinnitus severity index score and visual analogue scale (VAS) after vitamin B12 therapy.”

The study concluded that vitamin B12 supplementation could be a successful therapy for patients with tinnitus.

It also theorised that this was due to the importance of B12 on the central nervous system.

And Tinnitus UK suggests that vitamin B12 supplements could prove helpful.

On its website it quotes a study published in the American Journal of Audiology in 2016, which said: “We concluded that dietary supplements should not be recommended to treat tinnitus but could have a positive outcome on tinnitus reactions in some people.”

Other symptoms of a B12 deficiency shared by Dr Calcasola include:

  • Extreme tiredness (fatigue)
  • Lack of energy (lethargy)
  • Pins and needles
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Depression
  • Headaches
  • Pale skin
  • Noticeable heartbeats (palpitations)
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss.

If you think you could be suffering from a B12 deficiency it is worth speaking to your GP.

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