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Vitamins E and A Shown to Help Slow Down Hearing Loss

Do you find yourself saying “What?” a little more often than before during conversations? Researchers from the University of Sydney conducted a study that found you may be able to prevent your hearing loss from getting worse by increasing your vitamin E and vitamin A intake.

The study was published online ahead of print in The Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging on July 12, 2011.

Participants in the study included 2,956 adults participating in the Blue Mountains Hearing Study, which took place from 1997-1999 and again from 2002-2004. All of the participants were at least 50 years of age at the onset of the study.

The scientists assessed age-related hearing loss using pure tone audiometry, which measures hearing at various frequencies. Dietary intake data was collected via a semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire. The questionnaire was used to determine intake of alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein and zeaxanthin, lycopene, vitamins A, C and E, iron and zinc.

After adjusting for other factors affecting hearing loss (such as age, sex, noise exposure, etc.) the researchers concluded that the people with the highest level of vitamin A had a 47% reduced risk of hearing loss when compared to people with the lowest intakes. In addition, increasing dietary intake of vitamin E was associated with a 14% reduction in hearing loss.

The researchers believe that this beneficial effect comes from the antioxidants present in the vitamins. They noted that a reactive oxygen species seems to damage the inner ear, an occurrence that can be counterbalanced by the antioxidants.

Vitamin E has been linked to lower cholesterol, healthier skin, maintaining a proper hormonal balance, and preventing myothropic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Vitamin A has been shown to improve diarrhea and the symptoms of respiratory disease, to slow the growth of pancreatic cancer cells, and to reduce the risk of measles. People who are deficient in vitamin A are also at risk for vision problems and many chronic diseases.

If you’re looking to add more vitamin E to your diet, try eating more sunflower seeds, breakfast cereal, tomatoes, dried herbs, and dried apricots. For vitamin A, look to beef liver, egg yolk, cheddar cheese, and fortified milk. If you think you’re not getting enough of these essential vitamins in your daily diet, try a high quality supplement.

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