Tinnitus, a condition characterized by a ringing, humming, hissing, static, screeching, whooshing, or pulsing sound in the ears, affects over 50 million people worldwide. The severity of this condition varies, but it can significantly impact one’s quality of life.
Tinnitus and Glutamate:
The root cause of tinnitus is often an issue with a neurotransmitter that controls communication between the auditory centers in the brain and the inner hair cells of the cochlea, named glutamate. When these hair cells are damaged, perhaps due to exposure to loud noise or ototoxic substances, an excessive amount of glutamate is released.
This glutamate excess opens neuronal sodium channels, causing the neurons to keep firing. The persistent firing allows inflammation and free radicals to accumulate, which can further damage the mitochondria of these cells. This excessive glutamate causes an over-excitement of nerves, affecting the cochlea’s communication with the auditory nerve and the brain. The brain then interprets this as a sound that isn’t there, leading to tinnitus.
GABA’s Role in Tinnitus Management:
To manage tinnitus, we need to inhibit the over-stimulation caused by excessive glutamate. This is where GABA, or gamma-aminobutyric acid, comes in. GABA is an amino acid and the brain’s primary inhibitory neurotransmitter. It can help restore normal communication between the brain and the inner ear.
Additionally, GABA increases the production of alpha brain waves, which can decrease anxiety, improve mood, reduce panic attacks, improve sleep, and promote relaxation. This can be beneficial for those with tinnitus, as it can prevent the condition from becoming overwhelming.
What to Avoid:
However, it’s crucial to avoid aspartate/aspartame and MSG, as these two chemicals can increase glutamate levels, potentially worsening tinnitus.
Recommended Dosage and Precautions:
A typical recommended dosage for GABA is about 750 milligrams, taken on an empty stomach twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening before bed. However, if you are currently taking medication for anxiety, stress, or depression, it’s essential to consult with your doctor before starting to take GABA.
Patience is Key:
Remember that it may take some time to see results from taking GABA. It could be several weeks to a couple of months before you notice significant improvements. However, with patience and consistency, I’m confident that you will see results.
By understanding the role of neurotransmitters in tinnitus and taking steps to manage these, it’s possible to reduce the symptoms of this condition and improve your quality of life.