Tinnitus is a common hearing disorder than afflicts more than 5 percent of adults over age 45, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Although not dangerous, tinnitus can reduce quality of life and make concentration more difficult. Zinc and magnesium are two nutrients that play a role in tinnitus development and treatments.
Tinnitus is hearing sounds — often ringing — though no sound is actually present. Finding the exact cause of tinnitus is often a challenge, according to MayoClinic.com. However, damage to the ears, premature hearing loss, alcohol abuse, earwax buildup, occupational exposure to loud noises, anxiety and neck injuries increase the risk of developing tinnitus. Nutrition may help reduce the impact of tinnitus, like many chronic diseases. Zinc and magnesium are a pair of minerals important for proper ear functioning.
Zinc is an essential mineral found in abundance in shellfish, red meat, yogurt, milk, fortified grains and legumes. Zinc is a cofactor for enzymes that aid in many of the body's chemical reactions. Supplementing with 220 mg of daily zinc improved symptoms of tinnitus in a group of 40 tinnitus sufferers, according to the October 2002 "Auris Nasus Larynx." The Recommended Daily Allowance, RDA, for zinc is 11 mg for adult men and 8 mg for adult women, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements.
Magnesium is an essential mineral that promotes healthy bone formation and helps nerves work properly. Research published in the July 2002 issue of "Otology & Neurotology" investigated the effect of magnesium on hearing loss and tinnitus. The researchers discovered that an intravenous-delivered magnesium compound improved symptoms of tinnitus in a significant number of research subjects. The current RDA for magnesium is 400 mg for men and 310 mg for women.
As with any dietary supplement, magnesium and zinc should be taken under the supervision of your doctor. In addition to supplementing with these minerals, other ways to lessen tinnitus symptoms include stress reduction, avoiding noise, limiting alcohol intake, maintaining clean inner ears and taking the medications your doctor prescribes.
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Zinc
- "Otology & Neurotology"; Magnesium: A New Therapy for Idiopathic Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss; G Arie et al.; July 2006
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Magnesium: A New Therapy for Idiopathic Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss; Arie Gordin, et al.; July 2002
- "Auris Nasus Larynx"; The role of zinc in management of tinnitus; S. Yetiser et al.; October 2002