Vitamin D is an essential nutrient central to a number of biological and mental processes in the body. But levels are exceptionally low in UK adults, putting thousands of Britons at risk of health complications. Early detection is key to staving off unwanted ailments. Two signs in the ears may hint that you’re in need of a vitamin D top-up.
Vitamin D levels are thought to have plunged as a result of the pandemic, with experts calling for foods to be fortified with the nutrient.
Low vitamin D levels are associated with an increased risk of a number of other conditions ranging from bowel cancer and multiple sclerosis to Alzheimer’s disease.
As cholesterol under the skin is transformed into vitamin D, bone health and the immune system are both fortified.
There is also evidence that vitamin D could lessen the likelihood of viral infections, including the flu.
As deficiency wreaks havoc on the bones, this may lead to hearing loss and tinnitus.
The NHS explains tinnitus is the “name for hearing noises that are not caused by sounds coming from the outside world.
“It’s a common and not usually a sign of anything serious.
“It might get better by itself and there are treatments that can help”.
Researchers probing the role of vitamin D in subjective tinnitus, have previously unveiled a link between deficiency and the hearing condition.
In one paper, published in the journal Plos One, they wrote: “Our findings suggest that a large proportion of tinnitus patients suffer from vitamin D deficiency and that the vitamin D level correlates with tinnitus impact.
“We recommend a vitamin assessment for all tinnitus patients.”
Elsewhere in the paper, they hypothesised that it was vitamin D’s anti-inflammatory properties that may play a part in tinnitus, or possibly its connection to magnesium.
“Another mechanism by which vitamin D deficiency may influence tinnitus is connected with magnesium,” they said.
“Magnesium plays a role as the main cofactor for vitamin D synthesis. Besides, activated vitamin D can enhance the intestinal absorption of magnesium.
“Therefore, diminished magnesium due to vitamin D deficiency may lead to tinnitus exacerbation.”
Vitamin D deficiency also has connections to hearing, as it affects the bones in the ear.
This condition, known as osteopenia, can result in hearing loss and in some cases deafness.
Interestingly, studies have found that correcting a vitamin D deficiency can reverse the hearing loss and even deafness in some cases.
Currently, it is believed that as many as one billion people are deficient around the world.
In the UK, a fifth of adults may have suboptimal levels. When Britons are unable to acquire the vitamin D they need through the sun, they must rely on food or supplementation.