How To Treat Vertigo Causes With Diet & Supplements

Vertigo is the most common type of dizzinesscharacterized by episodes of change in balance and   the illusion of movement or spinning of the person or the environment around them.

Vertigo is highly prevalent worldwide, affecting 2% of young adults, 30% of people aged 65 years, and up to 50% of elderly over 85.

The recurrence of sudden and unexpected vertigo attacks is very debilitating and may severely affect the quality of life.

Vertigo is caused by different disorders, including Meniere’s disease (MD), BPPV or benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, migraines, inner ear infection, and vestibular neuronitis – the inflammation of the vestibular nerve, which runs into the inner ear and sends messages to the brain that help to control balance.

Meniere’s disease is a chronic inner ear disorder characterized by recurrent vertigo, hearing loss, feeling pressure in the ears, and constant ringing or buzzing in the ears [1,2,3]. Ménière’s disease is thought to be caused by a disturbance of the volume or composition of the fluid in the inner ear.

Approximately 200 people in every 100,000 suffer from Ménière’s disease.

Meniere’s disease predisposes people to another type of vertigo known as BPPV or benign paroxysmal positional vertigo [9-10]

BPPV is the most common cause of vertigo in adults. It has an estimated prevalence of 3.2% in women and 1.6% in men. 30% of all people suffer from BPPV at least once in their lives.

Epley’s canal repositioning maneuver, which you can see in this video below, can help treat BPPV easily and quickly in most cases.

As for other causes of debilitating vertigo, there is no standard treatment, so patients seeking advice generally feel helpless.

But nutrition can come to the rescue since a dietary change affects every aspect of the body’s biology and is a practical yet relatively simple and inexpensive first line of treatment.

Here is how dietary changes can help treat the causes of vertigo:

1. Reduce Salt Intake

Since there may be a disturbance in the volume or composition of the fluid in the inner ear causing vertigo, dietary intake of salt can affect the concentrations of electrolytes (salts and minerals that can conduct electrical impulses in the body) in the blood. This, in turn, may affect the composition of the fluid of the inner ear called the endolymph. 

High salt intake may contribute to vertigo attacks. The restriction of salt in the diet could control both the volume and composition of the fluid of the inner ear. 

A low salt diet can alter inner ear fluid balance and affect auditory function.

You will know when you are consuming too much salt when you find yourself adding salt to food that seems too bland without it. Other signs that you consume too much salt include the frequent need to urinate or are persistently thirsty and often suffer from headaches and bloating. You may also see swelling in your feet and acne on the body and face.

To reduce the amount of salt you are consuming, avoid highly processed foods rich in salt, including packaged and fast foods like potato chips, deli meats, pizza,and canned soups. 

Check the label for sodium content. You should not consume more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day, which is equivalent to one teaspoon of salt per day!

I recommend using natural vegetable salt as an alternative to table salt to season your food. This salt has a mixture of dried, ground vegetables naturally rich in salt to flavor foods. This salt also has the added benefit of providing other nutrients present in the dried vegetables, and it is also delicious. 

Your body will naturally reduce salt cravings after only three days of consuming less salt in your diet.

Also, hydrate your body sufficiently according to your body weight. See my video here on how much you should hydrate your body.

2. Reduce Foods Causing Vasoconstriction

Vasoconstriction is the tightening of the blood vessels and is a natural part of balancing the body’s systems when needed. Vasoconstriction is required to maintain healthy blood flow, body temperature, and blood pressure when necessary.

Vasoconstriction reduces the volume of space inside the blood vessels reducing blood flow to the area, and at the same time, the force of blood flow increases. When this happens, often due to a faulty diet, a person susceptible to vertigo will suffer since vasoconstriction could reduce the blood supply to the inner ear and increase blood pressure in the inner ear.

Foods that cause vasoconstriction should be avoided until symptoms improve. These foods include:

  • Caffeine-rich foods and beverages, including energy drinks, chocolate, and coffee. Caffeine causes blood vessels to narrow, increasing blood pressure. However, a reduction in caffeine intake may lead to withdrawal symptoms ranging from mood disturbance to headaches and vertigo during the period of withdrawal. However, keep with the decrease in salt for a few days, and vertigo shall significantly reduce.
  • At high levels, alcohol also becomes a vasoconstrictor, shrinking the vessels and increasing blood pressure, increasing episodes of vertigo.
  • Foods rich in saturated fats that increase cholesterol levels will naturally lead to narrowing the arteries due to the clogging of the arteries with plaque. Reduce the amount of meat and dairy you consume, especially if you are over 40. 
  • Foods rich in refined carbohydrates cause veins to constrict due to high levels of glucose in the blood. Increase your fiber intake to stabilize triglycerides and minimize the harmful effects on the inner ear by consuming whole grains and fresh fruits to prevent spikes in blood sugar levels.

3. Increase Vitamin D levels

Vitamin D deficiency is common among people with Meniere’s disease. Vitamin D supplementation is beneficial when a postviral autoimmune reaction causes vertigo. Most people do not have enough vitamin D. I recommend supplementing with 2000 IU daily with this vitamin when skin exposure to the sun is not an option due to culture or location.

4. Hypoglycemia

The inner ear has fluid-filled membranes that help detect sound and are highly dependent on a continuous supply of energy. This energy generated by adenosine triphosphate is influenced by glucose and hormone levels in the blood. 

Research shows that glucose metabolic disorder is found in 42 – 80% of people with tinnitus and dizziness. In Brazil, glucose metabolic disorder has already been considered the most frequent cause of ear metabolic dysfunctions.

You can prevent hypoglycemia by following the guidelines in my article on the subject here:

5. Lack of Physical Activity

A lack of regular physical activity and low levels of physical fitness are risk factors for dizziness and benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV).

It is easy to add physical activity into your lifestyle by walking daily. You can read about the importance of physical activity in my book the Guerrilla Diet and lifestyle program. 

But I also have a free ebook on the benefits of walking in the member’s area of my website, the guerrilla diet. You can register free in the member’s tab, and then when inside the member’s area, look at the dropdown menu of health modules and find the ebook to download for free titled how to walk for health. This will surely help you add this vital habit into your lifestyle easily.

Feel free to comment below and let me know what you liked best about this article.

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Thank You, 🙂

Dr. Galit Goldfarb

References: 

  1. O?uz E, Cebeci A, Geçici CR. The relationship between nutrition and Ménière’s disease. Auris Nasus Larynx. 2021 Mar 24:S0385-8146(21)00082-1. doi: 10.1016/j.anl.2021.03.006. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33773852.
  2. Büki B, Jünger H, Lundberg YW. Vitamin D supplementation may improve symptoms in Meniere’s disease. Med Hypotheses. 2018;116:44-46. doi:10.1016/j.mehy.2018.04.019
  3. Santos PM, Hall RA, Snyder JM, Hughes LF, Dobie RA. Diuretic and diet effect on Menière’s disease evaluated by the 1985 Committee on Hearing and Equilibrium guidelines. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1993 Oct;109(4):680-9. doi: 10.1177/019459989310900408. PMID: 8233504.
  4. Orji  F.  The  influence  of  psychological  factors  in Meniere’s disease. Ann Med Health Sci Res 2014;4(1):3–7 
  5. Petri  M,  et  al.  Health-related  quality  of  life  and disability  in  patients  with  acute  unilateral  peripheral vestibular  disorders.  Braz  J  Otorhinolaryngol 2017;83(6):611–8
  6. Hallpike  CS.  Meniere’s  disease.  Postgrad  Med  J 1955;31(357):330–40 
  7. Ciorba A et al, Assessment tools for use in patients with Meniere disease: an update. Med Sci Monit 2017;23:6144–9
  8. Nakashima T,  et al.  Meniere’s disease.  Nat Rev  Dis Primers 2016;2:16028 
  9. Gross EM, Ress BD, Viirre ES, Nelson JR, Harris JP. Intractable benign paroxysmal positional vertigo in patients with Meniere’s disease. Laryngoscope. 2000;110(4):655–659. https://doi.org/10.1097/00005537-200004000-00022 PMid:10764014. 
  10. Yetiser S. Co-existance of Benign Paroxismal Positional Vertigo and Meniere’s syndrome. J Int Adv Otol. 2017;13(1):65–68. https://doi.org/10.5152/iao.2016.2906 PMid:28085000.
  11. Schultz AR, Neves-Souza RD, Costa Vde S, Meneses-Barriviera CL, Franco PP, Marchiori LL. Is There a Possible Association between Dietary Habits and Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo in the Elderly? The Importance of Diet and Counseling. Int Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2015;19(4):293-297. doi:10.1055/s-0035-1551551

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