Specific Health Concerns


Meniere's Disease

What is It?

Meniere's Syndrome is also called hydrops or endolymphatic hydrops. It is a condition of the inner ear characterized by recurrent attacks of deafness, ringing in the ear, tinnitus, vertigo, nausea, vomiting, sound distortion, and a feeling of pressure in the inner ear. At times a person may have to lie still in bed as the slightest movement can precipitate dizziness, nausea, or vomiting.

Although the cause of Meniere's is not known* there are four conditions that impact the occurrence of Meniere's. I believe if we can correct these four conditions, that we will see a reduction or a complete elimination of the frequency and severity of Meniere's attacks.

*Except in the case of known head trauma—in other words, an accident happened where the inner ear was damaged.

Four Conditions to Correct:

1. Inflammation of the nerves in the inner ear.

2. Control of vasoconstriction and vasodilatation.

3. Reduction of fluid in the inner ear.

4. Control of blood fat levels.

1. Inflammation of the Nerves

Healing any inflammation of the nerves in the inner ear is critical to recovery for Meniere's syndrome. If the nerves are inflamed, the messages to the brain will be distorted. This can cause perceived motion when motion is not occurring (dizziness). Also because the nerves are utilized for hearing perception, there can be a problem with ringing in the ears, tinnitus or sound distortion.

The B-Complex Vitamins

The B-complex vitamins are critical in healing the inflamed nerves. The B vitamins work by actually repairing the damage done to the nerve fibers and maintaining nerve fiber health. Diets that are high in refined carbohydrates (sugary foods) deplete the body of the B vitamins. People who crave sugary foods, alcohol, breads, pastas, and other starchy carbohydrates will have a tendency to be deficient in the B vitamins. The reason for this is that the B vitamins are responsible for metabolizing these foods. If our diet is composed largely of these foods, the majority of the B vitamins will be used in converting these carbohydrates into usable substances. Because of the large amounts of B vitamins necessary to deal with the carbohydrates, there will be insufficient B vitamins left to maintain, prevent or repair nerve damage. It is a common finding that Meniere's patients are deficient in the B vitamins. An additional point of interest is that Meniere’s attacks will often follow the use of antibiotics. Antibiotics deplete the body of the B complex vitamins. Please see below under Plan for Healing on my specific recommendations on diet and B-complex supplementation for correcting nerve inflammation in Meniere's.

2. Control Vasoconstriction

Controlling vasoconstriction is also critical in treating Meniere's. When blood vessels narrow (which is called vasoconstriction) they will eventually dilate (widen). In the process of dilation, the vessels can go into spasms, causing pain and distortion in the inner ear. Having the blood vessels open and dilated is a good and healthy thing. However, to go from the state of vasoconstriction to dilation can sometimes cause problems. Going from vasoconstriction to dilation is a normal bodily process, however if a person has an increased amount of episodes of vasoconstriction and the subsequent vasodilatation, the smooth vascular walls can go into spasms. These spasms, as well as uneven dilation rate (some parts of the blood vessel wall are dilated, some parts are still constricted) can cause severe pain such as seen in migraine headaches as well as the symptoms associated with Meniere’s syndrome.

Eliminate Vasoconstrictors

Eliminating substances that are known vasoconstrictors will help alleviate this problem. Caffeine, tobacco, and artificial sweeteners will need to be eliminated from the diet to reduce vasoconstriction. To avoid withdrawal symptoms when eliminating caffeine from the diet, see Plan for Healing below.

Control Stress

High stress also causes the blood vessels to constrict because of the release of the stress hormone, norepinephrine. Trying to take life a little less hectically and changing our mental attitude is helpful in reducing stress. Some situations we cannot change however, and so for those times I highly recommend the B complex vitamins which are essential in the regulation and production of the stress hormones. Calcium-magnesium supplements also help by causing natural relaxation.

Control Low Blood Sugar

When blood sugar levels drop off and are not replaced, the body is forced to trigger the release of stored sugar from the liver and muscle tissue. The stress hormone, norepinephrine is the trigger that causes this release. Therefore, if blood sugar levels fall, vasoconstriction will occur when the norepinephrine is released to bring sugar levels back up. Eating in a way to control blood sugars is specified in the Plan for Healing below. Also see the related article on Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar) found on this site for more detail.

3. Reduce Fluid in the Inner Ear

Reduction of fluid in the inner ear is also helpful in Meniere's. Because distention of the endolymphatic area can cause some of the symptoms of this syndrome, a lessening of the amount of fluid present can affect a positive response. My recommendation on lowering fluid in the inner ear is to utilize the healing properties of garlic and vitamin C. Used together these two natural remedies can break up the fluid and cause it to drain through and out of the tissues of the inner ear. They can be extremely effective in accomplishing this and cause no side effects such as in the case of prescription diuretics. See Plan for Healing below for specific recommended amounts.

4. Control Blood Fat

It has been hypothesized by many health professionals that elevated blood fat levels negatively affect Meniere's by reducing the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the inner ear. Maintaining good lipid levels (blood fat) not only may affect control of Meniere's, but will bring the added benefits of controlling blood pressure and making heart disease a less likely occurrence in a person’s life.

3 Steps to Control Lipids

Reducing the intake of saturated fat is the first step in bringing blood fat levels to optimum. This means limiting saturated fats to two servings or less per week. The second step is to remove existing bad fat in the bloodstream by increasing soluble fiber intake. See Cholesterol article, this site, for further explanation on how this works. Finally, increasing the good essential fatty acids will increase the HDL (good cholesterol) in the bloodstream. This makes a better lipid balance and actually aids in blood viscosity (the blood is slicker and can travel more easily through tight small vessels). This increases the circulation to the inner ear. See below, Plan for Healing, for specific recommendations on how to accomplish this.

Final Notes

Since loss of hearing (which can be associated with Meniere's Syndrome) is affected by a deficiency in the following nutrients, it is wise to have them supplied in adequate amounts. These nutrients are Vitamin A, Vitamin E, iron, and zinc. See Plan for Healing below for specific recommended amounts.

How Long Until Improvement?

By following this Plan for Healing, you should expect to see some results within one to two months. If you see complete reversal, go to the Plan for Prevention as a maintenance plan to prevent further attacks.

Plan for Healing 

• Eat protein foods at every meal. You may still have complex carbohydrates such as vegetables, pasta, breads, grains, etc. However, protein needs to be the major food in meals. Good sources of low fat proteins are: the white meat of chicken or turkey, fish, eggs, low fat diary products, soy, legumes, nuts, seeds, red meat (limit to 2 serving per week because of high saturated fat content).

• Never consume carbohydrates alone. Eat them with protein foods.

• Take a balanced B Complex supplement. Take 3 of the recommended B-Complex with every meal.

• Take 1 teaspoon liquid multi-vitamin** daily to provide the needed amounts of vitamin A and iron.

• Take 800 IU Vitamin E** daily with food

• Take 15 mg zinc** daily

• Take 1000 mg Vitamin C** three times daily

• Take a calcium-magnesium** supplement--1200 mg calcium, 750 mg magnesium

• Take 2 cloves freshly minced raw garlic 3 times daily with food.

• Eat one serving of the omega 3 fatty acid foods daily (see below for listing of foods) or substitute 6 EPA** capsules daily for the omega 3 fatty acid foods.

• Limit saturated fat servings to two per week (red meats, dark meat of poultry, fried foods, foods made with hydrogenated oils, coconut oil, palm kernel oil, cottonseed oil, high fat diary products).

• Consume 1 cup of cooked legumes three to four times weekly. If you are unaccustomed to a high fiber diet, a sudden increase in fiber can cause gas or intestinal distress. In this case, start slowly and work up to the recommended amount.

• Exercise for 20-30 minutes three times weekly. This helps regulate blood lipid levels and reduces norepinephrine’s negative effect.

Avoid caffeine, artificial sweeteners, and tobacco. If you are addicted to caffeine, withdraw slowly to alleviate withdrawal symptoms. To withdraw: calculate total caffeine intake. Then reduce by 25% for two weeks. After two weeks, reduce another 25% (of total original caffeine intake) for two weeks. Then reduce 25% more for two weeks. Then no caffeine.

*Technically fruit is a complex carbohydrate, but because of the high sugar content, I include it in this list as it can be very damaging in Meniere's Syndrome.

Plan for Prevention 

• Eat protein foods at every meal. You may still have complex carbohydrates such as vegetables, pasta, breads, grains, etc. However, protein needs to be the major food in meals. Good sources of low fat proteins are: the white meat of chicken or turkey, fish, eggs, low fat diary products, soy, legumes, nuts, seeds, red meat (limit to 2 serving per week because of high saturated fat content).

• Never consume carbohydrates alone. Eat them with protein foods.

• Take a balanced B-Complex** supplement. Take 1 of the recommended B-Complex daily.

• Take a multi-vitamin/mineral** supplement to equal RDA.

• Take 400 IU Vitamin E** daily with food.

• Take 1000 mg Vitamin C** daily.

• Take a calcium-magnesium** supplement—1200 mg calcium, 750 mg magnesium.

• Eat one serving of the omega 3 fatty acid foods three to four times weekly (see below for listing of foods) or substitute 6 EPA capsules daily for the omega 3 fatty acid foods.

• Limit saturated fat servings to four per week (red meats, dark meat of poultry, fried foods, foods made with hydrogenated oils, coconut oil, palm kernel oil, cottonseed oil, high fat diary products).

• Consume 1 cup of cooked legumes three to four times weekly. If you are unaccustomed to a high fiber diet, a sudden increase in fiber can cause gas or intestinal distress. In this case, start slowly and work up to the recommended amount.

• Exercise for 20-30 minutes three times weekly. This helps regulate blood lipid levels and reduces norepinephrine's negative effect.

• Avoid caffeine, artificial sweeteners, and tobacco. If you are addicted to caffeine, withdraw slowly to alleviate withdrawal symptoms. To withdraw: calculate total caffeine intake. Then reduce by 25% for two weeks. After two weeks, reduce another 25% (of total original caffeine intake) for two weeks. Then reduce 25% more for two weeks. Then no caffeine.

*Technically fruit is a complex carbohydrate, but because of the high sugar content, I include it in this list as it can be very damaging in Meniere's Syndrome.

Omega 3 Fatty Acid Rich Foods

Choose one of the following to meet the omega 3 fatty acid requirement for one serving (Serving Size for Adults):

Suggested ideas to accomodate omega 3 fatty acid requirement:

 

Links of Interest
B Vitamins
Cholesterol

Hypoglycemia



- A Note About the Plans for Healing -

You will notice that the Plans for Healing on my various articles as published on my web site include the use of supplements (in the majority of cases). I have included them at this time because most of the people that access my web site, I never have the opportunity to speak to personally. Therefore, I cannot address each person's particular situation as it warrants. The supplements will certainly help, however, be aware that food alone can cure, without the use of supplements.

In fact, it is my goal to be able to see healing with food alone. In my private practice, where I counsel clients individually, it is only occasionally that I might recommend the use of supplements. Food is powerful. As Hippocrates said, "Let food be thy medicine, and thy medicine be food." That is also my philosophy.


Back to Specific Health Concerns


Contact Karen at Karen@KarenHurd.com or the office phone (715) 877-3510.

All material provided on the KarenHurd.com website is provided for informational and educational purposes only. The information given should not be regarded as a guaranteed cure or a statement that the recommendations can assuredly reverse a health condition. Consult a physician regarding the applicability of any opinions or recommendations with respect to your symptoms or medical condition.

© 2014 - Karen R. Hurd, Last Updated: June 16, 2014

Top of Page