Vitamins A, C, E plus magnesium may delay hearing impairment associated with age

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images / AndreyPopov
© Getty Images / AndreyPopov
A combination of the vitamins A, C, and E plus magnesium may protect hearing as we age, suggests a new study using lab rats.

Data published in Frontiers in Neuroscience​indicated that the combination of the vitamins and the mineral was associated with significantly reduced shifts in hearing in older rats, compared to older animals on a control diet.

“The present study demonstrates a protective effect of oral ACEMg in ARHL [age-related hearing loss], as seen in changes in auditory thresholds and wave amplitudes of ABR recordings in rats fed with ACEMg-enriched chow ([enriched diet] rats) compared to control rats fed with regular chow ([normal diet] rats,”​ wrote scientists from the Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha in Albacete, Spain.

“The present findings suggest that oral therapies targeting excess of free radicals and reduced cochlear blood flow may improve auditory function during aging in Wistar rats, a validated model of ARHL.”

A growing issue

The findings are potentially important due to the aging population and the prevalence of age-related hearing loss (or presbycusis) is predicted to increase.

Currently, ARHL affects about 24% of people in their 40s, 33% of people in their 60s, and 66% of people in their 70s globally. This also has negatively implications for quality of life and associated healthcare costs.

Study details

The new study is said to be first time that this combination of nutrients has been studied for presbycusis.

The scientists divided young adult Wistar rats into two groups: One group received the normal chow diet, while the second group’s diet was supplement with vitamins A,C, and E and magnesium. The vitamins were selected because of their antioxidant/ free-radical scavenging activity, while magnesium is described as a “known powerful cochlear vasodilator”​.

Three-month-old rats were followed until 14 months of age, with the data indicating that supplementation reduced threshold shifts at the lower and medium frequencies, compared to the control animals. This indicated “an improvement in the auditory thresholds”​, said the researchers.

The supplement also found a protective effect on hearing in terms of the amplitudes of the waveforms.

“The improvement in auditory thresholds and wave amplitudes in the ACEMg-supplemented animals reflects a more effective and adequate neuronal response to the auditory stimulus, than the one that they should have for their corresponding age,” ​they wrote.

“These findings indicate that oral ACEMg may provide an effective adjuvant therapeutic intervention for the treatment of ARHL, delaying the progression of hearing impairment associated with age,” ​they concluded.

Source: Frontiers in Neuroscience
2018, Volume 12, Page 527, doi: 10.3389/fnins.2018.00527
“An Oral Combination of Vitamins A, C, E, and Mg++ Improves Auditory Thresholds in Age-Related Hearing Loss”
Authors: J.C. Alvarado, et al.

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