June 29, 2012

Heart and brain nutrient
also protects your hearing

Patients and readers often ask me what they can do for ear-related diseases of age. These include Menierre’s disease, as well as hearing loss and balance. It’s a tough problem. But there are a few things you can consider.

My colleague Jonathan Wright has written up the hormone aldosterone as a potential treatment. It’s a highly active hormone that requires a prescription and monitoring. But if it works, it’s sure worth it. I’ll have more on this hormone in the future. But today, I wanted to tell you about a study on a very popular supplement that has promise to help your hearing loss. It’s our great friend CoQ10.

In this study, researchers gave 60 patients with age-related hearing loss (presbycusis) a water soluble CoQ10, or vitamin E, or placebo for 30 days. They found that those taking the CoQ10 had a significant improvement in tone thresholds at 1,000, 4,000 and 8,000 Hz. That means that they could hear sounds previously inaudible at those frequencies. Those taking the vitamin E and placebo didn’t see improvement. This study confirms other reports that CoQ10 may help presbycusis (age-related hearing loss). What’s more, the improvement lasted for six months after treatment.

A second study has shown that the nutrient protects “hair cell” survival in a rodent model of noise-induced hearing loss. The hair cells are the all-important irreplaceable cells deep inside your ear that convey auditory nerve impulses to your brain. Loss of these means hearing loss! CoQ10 protected their mitochondria (energy furnaces).

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The formulation of CoQ10 used was called Q-ter. It’s a proprietary combination making CoQ10 water-soluble. Standard CoQ10, in the form of ubiquinone, is not water-soluble. This preparation mixes maltodextrin as a carrier of CoQ10 and a sucrester, which acts as a bioactivator. I don’t know of an outlet for this form of CoQ10.

However, I think that ubiquinol form of CoQ10 is superior in absorption; and, it’s more water-soluble than ubiquinone. It’s for that reason that I asked Advanced Bionutritionals to change their CoQ10 formulation to ubiquinol. Three capsules of Advanced Bionutritionals Ubiquinol will provide the amount of active molecules used in these studies for hearing loss. I use this formulation extensively in my patients at doses up to six capsules per day. It has the added advantage of containing additional mitochondrial-protecting nutrients.

Ref: Acta Otolaryngol, 2010 Dec 16 (ahead of print) 
Brain Res. 2009 Feb 27;1257:108-16.

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