Tinnitus: Can Melatonin Stop the Ringing?

Tinnitus refers hearing a constant ringing, roaring, clicking or hissing sound. It is Millions of people in the U.S. have tinnitus. People with severe tinnitus may have trouble hearing, working or even sleeping. Causes of tinnitus include hearing loss, exposure to loud noises or medicines (particularly Valium-type drugs [benzodiazepines]). Tinnitus may also be a symptom of other health problems, such as allergies, high or low blood pressure, tumors and problems in the heart, blood vessels, jaw and neck.

Treating Tinnitus
Treatment depends on the cause. If it is due to barotraumas from long-term exposure to load noise or music, scuba diving, or other causes of damage it is more difficult to treat. Magnesium supplementation may help, however. Other natural medicines that have been shown to be useful include:

  • Zinc supplementation can relieve or eliminate tinnitus in those with zinc deficiency – a common occurrence in many cases of tinnitus.
  • The results double-blind studies with Ginkgo biloba extract (GBE) are contradictory. People with recent-onset tinnitus are more likely to respond to GBE compared to those who have had tinnitus for at least 3 years.
  • Forty-seven percent of patients with tinnitus are deficient in B12. Many people with low B12 levels experience complete resolution of their tinnitus when given methylcobalamin. Take 2000 mcg twice daily for one month and then reduce it to 1000 mcg daily as a maintenance dose.

New Data:
A previous study demonstrated that 3 mg of melatonin at bedtime significantly improved tinnitus as well as sleep quality. In a new double-blind, crossover clinical trial 61 adults with chronic tinnitus were randomized to receive 3 mg melatonin or placebo nightly for 30 days followed by a 1-month washout period before switching over to the other treatment. Results demonstrated very convincingly that melatonin was associated with a statistically significant decrease in tinnitus intensity and improved sleep quality in these patients with chronic tinnitus. Melatonin was most effective in men, those without a history of depression, those who have not undergone prior tinnitus treatments, those with more severe and bilateral tinnitus, and those with a history of noise exposure.

Hurtuk A, Dome C, Holloman CH, et al. Melatonin: can it stop the ringing? Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 2011 Jul;120(7):433-40.

Green Tea Extract and L-Theanine Improve Mental Function

L-theanine, an amino acid found in tea leaves, helps reduce stress, promote relaxation and improve the quality of sleep. L-theanine is found in tea leaves in low concentrations (less than 2 percent), which means that effective dosage levels (of 100 – 200mg/day) cannot be delivered from drinking tea. Recently, animal studies and human studies have shown that a high dose of L-theanine (100 mg) combined with caffeine about at the level of a single cup of tea (40 mg), can help to improve attention, memory, and cognition.

L-Theanine Actions
There is no question that caffeine increases alertness, but this effect comes at a price. L-Theanine appears to counteract some of the stimulatory effects of caffeine while exerting benefits of its own. Some of the effects noted for L-theanine include:

  • Increasing brain serotonin, dopamine, and GABA levels.
  • Binding to various brain receptor sites.
  • Improving learning and memory in animal studies.
      • Positive results in double-blind studies showing it:
      • Reducing feelings of stress.
      • Improves the quality of sleep.
      • Diminishes the symptoms of the premenstrual syndrome
      • Increasing the production of alpha brain waves


L-theanine is a very is a popular ingredient in function foods and beverages as well as dietary supplements designed to produce mental and physical relaxation, without inducing drowsiness.

New Data

In a study of 91 subjects with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), subjects were given either the green tea-theanine combination or a placebo. Neuropsychological tests (Rey-Kim memory test and Stroop color-word test) and electroencephalography (EEG) were conducted to evaluate the effect of green tea-theanine on memory and attention. The results demonstrated that the green tea-theanine product led to improvements in memory and attention. The EEG tracings indicated an increase in brain theta waves, an indicator of cognitive alertness.

Park SK, Jung IC, Lee WK, et al. A combination of green tea extract and l-theanine improves memory and attention in subjects with mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled study. J Med Food. 2011 Apr;14(4):334-43.

Search for both green tea and Theanine, there is more info here.

“A Randomized, Pilot Study to Assess the Efficacy and Safety of Curcumin in Patients with Active Rheumatoid Arthritis,” Chandran B, Goel A, et al, Phytother Res, 2012 March 9; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Nirmala Medical Centre, Muvattupuzha, Kerala, India).

In a randomized study involving 45 patients diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, supplementation with 500 mg/d curcumin (an active agent found in the yellow curry spice, turmeric) was found to be associated with significant improvement in symptoms in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Subjects were randomized to: a) curcumin (500 mg/d); diclofenac sodium (50 mg/d); combination of curcumin and diclofenac sodium. Subjects in the curcumin alone group showed the greatest improvements in Disease Activity Score and American College of Rheumatology criteria for reduction in tenderness and swelling of joint scores. Curcumin was found to be safe and no adverse effects were noted. The authors conclude, “Our study provides the first evidence for the safety and superiority of curcumin treatment in patients with active RA, and highlights the need for future large-scale trials to validate these findings in patients with RA and other arthritic conditions.

Here is a very good article on using Lavender and its use in anxiety and depression both as aromatherapy and orally. The oral form is Lavela WS 1265 60 softgels and can be purchased through Emerson Ecologics. See the top of the page on how to order.


From Health Info Newsletter July 13, 2012: Tinnitus, Green Tea/brain function, Rheumatiod Arthritis, Lavender & mood

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