Are tinnitus and sugar really connected in some way? It seems like every medical symptom is either related to or caused by our intake of sugar and fat these days. Unfortunately, tinnitus and sugar is another connection we wish did not exist.
Metabolic imbalances in the body can result in tinnitus. This includes thyroid disorders, glucose problems, insulin problems, and diabetes. Tinnitus can occur with specific conditions like hyperinsulinemia and hyperglycemia. The connection between metabolic imbalance and tinnitus is not entirely understood in the medical community, but the connections are apparent in most medical studies.
How are sugar and tinnitus connected?
How the body handles sugar, both natural (good) and refined (bad), is an important part of metabolic health. Additionally, sugar and oxygen levels affect the way that our ears work. This is because the same factors effect brain chemistry and part of the process of hearing involves brain cells (neurons) that are tucked away in the inner ear. So, it stands to reason that when sugar is out of balance, the chance of hearing loss and tinnitus will increase.
Insulin is a natural hormone in the body that helps the body absorb and process (put to use or dispose of) sugars that are in the body. Sugar travels through the blood and is picked up by insulin hormones that are present in the liver, fat tissues, and muscles in the body. Without insulin, the level of sugar in the blood can rise to toxic levels and eventually causes death. With too much insulin, sugar doesn’t stay in the blood stream long enough to be used as energy where it is needed – like the brain or ears.
A condition that causes excess level of insulin in the body is known as hyperinsulinemia. This condition precedes hyperglycemia in some people, but is not actually hyperglycemia. Type II Diabetes is a common condition which causes hyperinsulinemia and is a condition in which a person has high blood sugar. This disproportion of insulin to sugar can cause tinnitus for a seemingly obvious reason.
Hyperinsulinemia in people with type 2 diabetes can be a problem because the body resists the effects of insulin, making the hormone less active in picking sugar from the blood stream. Since the pancreas, where insulin is created, detects higher sugar levels in the blood, it produces more insulin to take care of the problem.
When tissues in the body have as many insulin cells as they can hold, glucose (sugar) begins to be depleted from the blood stream. Of course, this prevents sugar from being used as a source of energy for hearing and can cause hearing loss and its commonly associated symptom of tinnitus. It seems that managing the insulin levels by managing refined sugar (and fat) consumption can lead directly to reduction in the severity of tinnitus.
The reason people with this condition are told to eat less sugar is simple: less sugar means less insulin production and less tissue saturation. With fewer insulin hormones in the body, more of the body’s sugar makes its way around the system.
In a clinic that studies hearing loss, tinnitus is a clear symptom of hearing loss that is also related to a metabolic problem like sugar imbalances. Clinics find that there is a clear indication of a connection between the symptom and a variety of metabolic disorders to include sugar processing and thyroid diseases. One clinic found that up to 17% of people with tinnitus had high blood sugar, 57% had high cholesterol, and 15% had abnormal levels of thyroid hormones.
As a result, one effective tinnitus cure in many situations could be losing weight and reducing sugar intake (or eliminating it if possible).
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