1. The “love hormone” can relieve tinnitus

    Peace and quiet, thanks to... snuggling?

    Q: I can't seem to get rid of this ringing in my ears, and it's driving me crazy. What can I do?

    GR: Well, it's that time of year again. We've made the leap from harvest-themed cornucopias straight to snowmen and sleigh rides.

    But while some are beckoning for the Christmas bells to keep ringing, others are just hoping for some peace and quiet.

    Maybe that's because they're ALWAYS listening to the sound of ringing -- a ringing that's coming from inside their own ears, courtesy of a condition known as tinnitus.

    If you're one of the 50 million Americans suffering from it, you know that there's no "mute" button. You may be able to hit "pause" on the jingle jangle of the season's festive tunes, but you can't seem to silence the sounds that follow you everywhere.

    And it's not just ringing: You could also hear whistling, buzzing, clicking, hissing, or even a musical sound that no one else can hear.

    Make no mistake -- it can be absolutely disabling.

    The good news is that as much as the sound is coming from inside your own body, that's also where the cure can be found -- because research shows that the volume can be lowered or even shut off altogether by a hormone that your body already produces.

    Brazilian researchers have found that spraying oxytocin -- the so-called "love hormone" -- up the nose can provide immediate relief to tinnitus sufferers. A few squirts of it actually stopped the ringing altogether for some patients. For others, the dose brought the noise to a less distressing level.

    While the researchers don't know exactly why it worked, we do know that oxytocin can promote good feelings and is often released when cuddling with someone or even playing with a pet. So, the theory is that the dopamine that pairs up with oxytocin to bring on those good vibes also calms the inner ear fluid, bringing quiet to an otherwise noisy ear canal.

    Oxytocin nasal spray is available online -- but, as with any natural cure or supplement, only a doc can tell you if it's safe for your particular situation.

    I've found a few other treatments to work on my patients with tinnitus, including:

    • Pine bark extract has brought substantial relief to those suffering mild to moderate tinnitus. Try 100 to 150 mg daily for four weeks.
    • Ginkgo biloba has been known to reduce symptoms of tinnitus. Try pairing it with low doses of zinc and vitamin B12, a combination that can help it work even better.
    • Acupuncture. This tried-and-true ancient remedy has seen success with everything from easing pain and inflammation to smoking cessation -- so it's no surprise to me that it's also been known to help tinnitus.

    In the meantime, there's no better time than December to cuddle up by the fire with your favorite loved one and get that oxytocin pumping through your body in the most natural -- and pleasurable -- way possible!

  2. Medications can cause tinnitus

    What your doc won't tell you about that antibiotic prescription

    Q: Ringing started in my ears after taking Zithromax for a severe infection in the year 2000... and has never stopped. Is there anything I can do for my tinnitus?

    GR: Certain medicines can certainly be toxic to your system -- and especially to your ears. These include chemo drugs, high-dose aspirin, and some antibiotics.

    And the most common complication from these "ototoxic" drugs that can damage your hearing is tinnitus.

    Nearly 1 in 10 Americans can't sleep, concentrate, or even carry on a conversation because of tinnitus!

    So, to save your ears from this potentially disabling condition, stay away from these drugs unless you absolutely, truly need them -- which is a good rule of thumb for taking antibiotics in general anyway!

    If you're one of the 50 million Americans that already suffer from that ringing in your ears, there are few natural treatments that have been shown to help.

    For instance, pine bark extract has brought substantial relief to those who suffer mild to moderate tinnitus. I recommend my patients with tinnitus take 100 to 150 mg daily for four weeks.

    As well, I like to pair ginkgo biloba, which has been known to reduce symptoms of tinnitus, with low doses of two other nutrients that can help it work even better: zinc and vitamin B12. But since it's possible to get too much of a good thing, you'll want to do this under the advisement of a doctor who's well-versed in nutritional medicine.

    Also I would be remiss if I didn't mention acupuncture. If you've been reading my eTips for a while now, you know that this ancient Chinese practice is my go-to for easing a number of conditions, including pain and inflammation -- and it turns out that it's also been known to help tinnitus.

    For some patients, the ringing can stop altogether... or at least be brought down to a less distressing level... thanks to the "love hormone," oxytocin. You can get oxytocin nasal spray online, but why spend the money when you can also get a surge of it by spending time with those you love?

    What's more, in a small trial last year, oxytocin was shown to provide almost immediate relief.

    I should note that medications are just one underlying cause of tinnitus, which has also been linked to prolonged exposure to loud noises, high blood pressure, cigarette smoking, anxiety, and -- as I shared with you in the May 2017 issue of my Nutrition & Healing newsletter -- Laryngopharyngeal Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (a.k.a. LERD).

    So, as always, it's a good idea to address the underlying cause in order to alleviate the condition.

    Keep those great questions coming! Drop me a line at askdrrothfeld@nutritionandhealing.com, and I may choose yours to answer next.

  3. Toxin exposure can cause tinnitus

    If you haven't been living the "rock and roll lifestyle," but you've still got that telltale ringing in your ears, look to some common toxins that you may have been exposed to -- including some medications that you may be taking right now.
  4. Oxytocin nasal spray may relieve tinnitus

    New study results may provide hope for tinnitus patients: Oxytocin, the “love hormone,” relieves ringing in ears.
  5. Aspirin therapy causes serious bleeding

    Another dagger in the heart of aspirin therapy, as researchers confirm the risks of serious bleeding problems outweigh any supposed benefits.
  6. When two-for-one is a bad deal

    Pills and more pills. First you've got the pills you're supposed to take, and then you've got the pills you've got to take to deal with the side effects from the first ones.

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