Nutritional Approaches to Vertigo
As a symptom, vertigo is always a reason to see a physician. At the same time, however, for conditions in which vertigo persists (eg, Ménière’s disease), a number of nutrients might be considered to counteract the effects, including:
- Antioxidants—Antioxidants mitigate the damaging effects of free radicals on tissues, cell membranes, and DNA. Vitamin C, vitamin E, lipoic acid, and glutathione are among the most important antioxidants. Vitamin C has been shown to have a beneficial effect on patients with Ménière’s disease when given in combination with glutathione (Takumida 2003). Glutathione, which is a powerful antioxidant, has been demonstrated to be effective in treating vertigo induced by Ménière’s disease (Raponi 2003). Because glutathione is poorly absorbed by the body, the Life Extension Foundation recommends taking precursors to glutathione, including N-acetylcysteine and lipoic acid. It is worth noting, however, that the role of L-glutamate has been studied in vertigo with somewhat conflicting results. There is some evidence that the neurotoxicity associated with some forms of vertigo is mediated by glutamate (Takumida 2001). Glutamate-blocking drugs have also been proposed as treatment for vertigo (Shulman 1997).
- Vitamin B6—Studies have reported positive effects using vitamin B6 on drug-induced vertigo and nausea, suggesting that vitamin B6 appears to offer protection against this form of vertigo (Claussen 1988).
- Ginkgo biloba—Researchers in Poland have found that vertigo induced by vestibular receptor impairment can be reduced by Ginkgo biloba extract. According to their study, almost all of the 45 patients who received 120 mg twice daily of Ginkgo biloba extract for 30 days showed a significantly increased ability to compensate for vestibular lesions and subsequently experienced fewer episodes of vertigo (Orendorz-Fraczkowska 2002). These results confirmed the earlier work performed by researchers who found that patients who received Ginkgo biloba extract at 80 mg twice daily had their vertigo and dizziness reduced by as much as 65% (Cesarani 1998). Positive results have also been found in trials of people with vertigo of various causes (Claussen 1986; Haguenauer 1986; Issing 2005).
- Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)—During a multicenter clinical trial of 2664 patients with congestive heart failure, 73% reported a decrease in the incidence of vertigo after only 3 months of treatment with 50 to 150 mg of CoQ10 daily (Baggio 1994).
- Ginger—Volunteers who took ginger and were then subjected to induced motion sickness (which includes vertigo as a symptom) experienced delayed onset of motion sickness and reported a shorter recovery time (Lien 2003). These results have been confirmed by other studies that showed that ginger reduced motion sickness and its associated vertigo (Grontved 1986, 1988). One researcher hypothesized that the positive effects of ginger were likely the result of its effect on the gastric system (Holtmann 1989).