Resveratrol and Hearing Loss May Have Connection
It’s possible that resveratrol, a phytonutrient found in red wine and red grapes, may have a role in hearing loss associated with noise. However, before you begin downing glasses of merlot to protect your hearing, read this.
Hearing loss is a major problem
The potent antioxidant resveratrol has been touted as a natural anti-aging supplement and a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. Both of these positive traits seem to have made an appearance in the latest study by researchers from the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.
The animal study, headed by Michael D. Seidman, director of the Division of Otologic/Neurotologic Surgery at the hospital, involved an evaluation of the ability of resveratrol to reduce noise-induced hearing loss. The issue of hearing loss has long been a concern, and with a rapidly aging population that concern is growing.
Approximately 20 percent of Americans have some level of hearing loss, and the majority of these individuals are middle-age or older. However, noise-induced hearing loss among younger people has become an especially important problem given that more than 12 percent of military personnel returning from Afghanistan and Iraq have significant hearing loss.
In fact, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs, ringing in the ears (tinnitus) and hearing loss were the most common service-connected disabilities among veterans receiving federal compensation in 2011. Therefore, research into effective ways to prevent and treat hearing loss in people of all ages is critical.
Resveratrol and hearing loss study
The scientific team set out to identify the factor associated with resveratrol that can protect against hearing loss as well as the impact of resveratrol on cognition and aging using an animal model. Specifically, Seidman noted that they looked at “resveratrol and its effect on bioinflammation, the body’s response to injury and something that is believed to be the cause of many health problems including Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, aging and hearing loss.”
Researchers looked at the effect of resveratrol on cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), a key factor in inflammation. They discovered that while excessive noise exposure caused an up-regulation of COX-2 expression over time, use of resveratrol reduced the potential for damage, inhibited COX-2 expression, and lowered noise-induced hearing loss in rats.
Hearing loss can have a devastating impact on quality of life, resulting in major problems with communication, sleep, and emotional health, as well as raising a person’s risk of heart disease because of a higher prevalence of high blood pressure and glucose. The results of this study are additional evidence that resveratrol can effectively reduce inflammation associated with a significant health problem, in this case noise-induced hearing loss, but further research is needed.
Seidman MD et al. Resveratrol decreases noise-induced cyclooxygenase-2 expression in the rat cochlea. Otolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery 2013 Feb; DOI: 0194599813475777
Veterans Affairs, Veterans Benefits Administration, Annual Benefits Report