Important Facts About Magnesium Tinnitus Therapy

Written by:

Dr. Hamid Djalilian

Neurotology

9 min read

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Why I Use Magnesium For Tinnitus

Today, I’d like to explain more about magnesium tinnitus therapy and why I use it as a core supplement to reduce tinnitus symptoms in my clinic. But first, here are the topics that will be covered in this article:

Intro to Magnesium Tinnitus Therapy

The persistent ringing or buzzing sounds associated with tinnitus prompts many to seek treatment with a tinnitus specialist like myself. Unfortunately, many doctors still say that “nothing can be done about tinnitus”. However, after 20+ years of treating tinnitus patients, I’ve developed a clinically-proven approach that yields success in 85-90% of my patients.

This approach is based on integrative medicine, where conventional medical practices like prescription medications are combined with evidence-based complementary therapies to achieve sustained tinnitus relief. This includes dietary supplements like magnesium. In this article, I explain why I routinely use magnesium as part of an integrative program to improve tinnitus symptoms in my practice. 

"I learned more about my tinnitus in the intro call than from my doctor..."

– Alice Lee

Female tinnitus patient Alice Lee

Ready for relief? NeuroMed can help.

Does magnesium help tinnitus? 

Yes, magnesium supplement helps tinnitus symptoms because of its beneficial effects on the auditory system. Specifically, magnesium plays a role in synaptic plasticity, regulates neurotransmitter levels, and provides neuroprotective support in the brain. These are all important functions for tinnitus treatment and relief.

Magnesium Deficiency and Tinnitus

Magnesium deficiency is associated with tinnitus. Several studies that document patients with chronic tinnitus have lower magnesium levels than healthy controls [1]. There are a few other dietary supplements where this is true, including vitamin D, vitamin B12, and zinc. However, only magnesium and vitamin D show reversal of tinnitus when you correct the deficiency.

Magnesium Tinnitus Therapy in Clinical Trials

A number of clinical trials have evaluated the effect of magnesium supplementation on tinnitus severity. In a trial that used it as a single agent intervention, positive results for people with severe tinnitus and disability were (improved Tinnitus Handicap Inventory scores) [2]. Several other clinical trial studies have used magnesium in combination with other supplements (such as ginkgo biloba and B complex vitamins) to manage tinnitus symptoms.

What is “magnesium dependent tinnitus”?

Magnesium dependent tinnitus refers to the type of tinnitus that results from magnesium deficiency or that responds to magnesium supplements. Once the magnesium is given, there is a sort of pharmacological reversal where the tinnitus decreases in severity and loudness. If only it were this easy in all cases of chronic tinnitus!

Migraine, Magnesium, and Tinnitus Symptoms

magnesium tinnitus therapy and migraines.jpg

Tinnitus is fundamentally a neurological problem, not just an ear problem. Our research team has discovered that tinnitus is intimately related to a migraine-like process in the brain [3]. Further, our clinical trials have shown that interventions that work on migraine also work for tinnitus.

Magnesium for Migraine

There are multiple benefits of using magnesium as a supplement for treating migraine. We theorize that many of these benefits cross-over in magnesium tinnitus therapy. Benefits include:

Magnesium BenefitDescription
Reduced Episode FrequencyStudies suggest that magnesium supplementation may have a beneficial effect on the frequency and intensity of migraine episodes.
VasodilationMagnesium has vasodilatory (dilates blood vessels) effects, potentially improving blood circulation and reducing the constriction of blood vessels linked to migraine symptoms. It may also help reduce high blood pressure.
Neurotransmitter RegulationMagnesium plays a role in neurotransmitter regulation, influencing processes in the brain associated with migraine symptoms.
Reduced NeuroinflammationMagnesium infusions have been shown to decrease calcitonin gene related peptide (CGRP), a critical molecule in migraine-related neuroinflammation.
Muscle RelaxationMagnesium’s muscle relaxant properties may alleviate tension and decrease the likelihood of migraine triggered by muscle tightness.
Pain ReliefMagnesium may contribute to pain relief by blocking certain pain receptors and reducing nerve tissue inflammation.
Aura PreventionSome studies suggest that magnesium supplementation might help prevent the visual and sensory disturbances (aura) associated with migraine.
Improved Treatment ResponseFor individuals with migraine, magnesium supplementation may enhance the response to traditional migraine medications.
The benefits of magnesium for migraine are also seen in magnesium tinnitus therapy.

How does magnesium help ear ringing?

magnesium tinnitus therapy helps woman with ear ringing

As noted above, the benefits of magnesium tinnitus therapy are in its effects on the brain, including the proper functioning of the hearing nerve. These benefits include:

Magnesium BenefitDescription
Neurotransmitter ReleaseMagnesium influences the release of neurotransmitters in the central nervous system, including glutamate and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), contributing to the balance between excitation and inhibition in the brain.
Energy MetabolismMagnesium participates in metabolism, facilitating in energy production and utilization of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the primary energy currency of cells.
Oxidative Stress ReductionMagnesium has antioxidant properties that help neutralize free radicals, protecting brain cells in the auditory system and other tissues from oxidative stress and potential damage (for instance, from inner ear damage from noise exposure).
Synaptic PlasticityMagnesium supports changes to nerve connections (synaptic plasticity), the ability of nerve connections (synapses) to strengthen or weaken over time, which is crucial for learning and memory.
NeuroprotectionDue to its anti-inflammatory and anti-apoptotic (cell death) effects, magnesium a protective effect on the brain, guarding against various neurological disorders and promoting overall brain health.
Brain effects of magnesium tinnitus therapy.

These benefits combine to reduce the overall sensitivity of the hearing nerve and associated neurons to environmental triggers.  In this way, magnesium helps with ear ringing by providing a reprieve from the increased auditory function (neural hyperactivity) seen in tinnitus.

Equally important, this mineral helps support the brain during the process of rewiring (neuroplasticity) that is required for sustained tinnitus relief. This makes it a powerful combination with other tinnitus treatments that aim to rewire the brain away from the ringing sound, like CBT for tinnitus or sound therapy.

Magnesium and Noise Induced Hearing Loss

magnesium tinnitus therapy helps noise induced hearing loss, man holding hands to his ears

Interestingly, magnesium supplements have also proven to be beneficial for noise induced hearing loss. This kind of hearing loss occurs as a result of intense noise exposure. When exposure to loud noise transmits sound through the middle ear, the energy produced causes significant stress to delicate hair cells of the inner ear.

In an experimental model, when magnesium is given after noise induced hearing loss, it actually can help reverse hearing loss. It’s also been shown that using the supplement on a daily basis can protect the inner ear against loud noises.

This is important for people with tinnitus, as they have increased susceptibility to noise induced hearing loss. This means they should avoid exposure to toxic noise, as it can be extremely destructive to inner ear tissue and can make tinnitus worse. In this way, adding a new supplement like Mag Glycinate makes sense for tinnitus sufferers.

Does magnesium help sleep?

Yes, magnesium supplements promote sleep by aiding relaxation and regulating neurotransmitters involved in sleep. Further, magnesium deficiency has been linked to a higher prevalence of sleep disorders. The sleep-related benefits of magnesium are particularly valuable for individuals with tinnitus, as improved sleep quality can help reduce tinnitus severity

What are the best magnesium supplements for tinnitus? 

When considering magnesium supplementation for tinnitus symptoms, perhaps the best magnesium is the glycinate form. Mag Glycinate minimizes the risk of digestive side effects, in particular, loose stools. Other than this, most forms of magnesium, such as Mag Oxide, are readily absorbed into the body, nervous system, and hearing organ.

As always, with alternative treatments like dietary supplements, we recommend going to high quality suppliers like FullScript. This ensures the magnesium content will be accurate. If you have health issues that concern you, you should contact a healthcare professional or pharmacist.

Natural Sources of Magnesium for Tinnitus Symptoms

Magnesium tinnitus therapy in natural food sources

Incorporating magnesium-rich foods into your daily diet can enhance your blood (serum) magnesium levels. Leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and legumes are valuable natural sources that complement strategies to reduce symptoms of tinnitus. 

However, before you decide to rely solely on the potential benefit of dietary sources, keep in mind that about 50% of Americans fall short of the Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) of this mineral, and specific age groups demonstrate notably lower levels of consumption.

What’s the best dose of magnesium for ear ringing?

Determining how much magnesium to use for managing tinnitus depends on your provider. From the clinical trials in my clinic, we generally recommend using 400mg Mag twice daily. However, this is not general medical advice as these doses are taken under direct medical supervision. Individual factors such as age, overall health, and existing medical conditions should be considered with your healthcare professional before taking this dose.

While this supplement offers numerous health benefits, excess magnesium intake can lead to side effects such as diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal cramps. If any side effects are noted, I usually tell patients to first try cutting in half, or even cutting it in a quarter of the dose rather than stopping completely.

Magnesium and Prescription Interactions

It’s crucial to be aware of potential interactions if you’re taking prescription medications that might have prescription interactions. For instance, high concentration magnesium can reduce the absorption of certain antibiotics (e.g., Cirpo, Levaquin, doxycycline, Zithromax) and interfere with drugs that act on platelet function. So if you’re taking medications, as your doctor if magnesium is OK to take.

“Magnesium Cured My Tinnitus”

Don’t expect to walk away saying “magnesium cured my tinnitus”. There is no magic pill for tinnitus. Dietary supplements for tinnitus should be viewed as one component of an integrative approach to tinnitus treatment. 

Tinnitus is a complex neurological problem that involves more than just nerve impulses from the hearing nerve. Fundamentally, persistent tinnitus is due to changes in brain wiring and it takes a comprehensive rehabilitation program to fix this. 

It’s true that magnesium helps ear ringing by reducing the sensory hypersensitivity that goes along with the migraine process. However, for long-lasting results, the tinnitus relief that magnesium brings should be combined with other treatment modalities like cognitive behavioral therapy, sound therapy, dietary changes, sleep optimization,  mindfulness practices, and sometimes prescription medications.  

Conclusions on Magnesium Tinnitus Relief

While magnesium supplements are not a standalone cure for tinnitus symptoms, integration of magnesium tinnitus therapy into a comprehensive and personalized strategy holds promise for symptom relief and the clinical evidence for it is strong.

Magnesium supplements play a pivotal role in tinnitus management by regulating neurotransmitters, mitigating the migraine process, providing ear protection, and supporting brain recovery from tinnitus. 

While you most likely won’t be saying “magnesium cured my tinnitus”, integrating dietary supplements into a holistic approach may contribute to reducing the severity of tinnitus symptoms and improving overall neurological well-being. We have employed magnesium in our practice in the treatment of thousands of tinnitus patients and is a component of the NeuroMed solution for tinnitus. 

Magnesium Tinnitus Therapy References

[1] Uluyol S, Kılıçaslan S, Yağız Ö. Relationship between serum magnesium level and subjective tinnitus. Kulak Burun Bogaz Ihtis Derg. 2016 Jul-Aug;26(4):225-7. doi: 10.5606/kbbihtisas.2016.87094. PMID: 27405078.

[2] Cevette MJ, Barrs DM, Patel A, Conroy KP, Sydlowski S, Noble BN, Nelson GA, Stepanek J. Phase 2 study examining magnesium-dependent tinnitus. Int Tinnitus J. 2011;16(2):168-73. PMID: 22249877.

[3] Lee A, Abouzari M, Akbarpour M, Risbud A, Lin HW, Djalilian HR. A proposed association between subjective nonpulsatile tinnitus and migraine. World J Otorhinolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2022 Oct 13;9(2):107-114. doi: 10.1002/wjo2.81. PMID: 37383326; PMCID: PMC10296047.

Dr. Hamid Djalilian

Neurotology

Dr. Hamid Djalilian, a tinnitus specialist and distinguished figure in the areas of otolaryngology, neurosurgery, and biomedical engineering, is NeuroMed’s Chief Medical Advisor.

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