Cured my eustachian tube dysfunction

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I've had this problem off and on for years.  I have allergies, so always assumed it was related to that.  Nope.  This past year, I discovered I also have a thyroid issue, and ETD can be related to hypothyroidism.  Well, even on thyroid hormone I still had the ETD.  

So I've been researching the web constantly, because my ETD is so annoying.  I have to yawn or swallow constantly or else my ears feel clogged and when I speak, it sounds very muffled.  Sometimes even clearing my ears doesn't help.   At it's worst, I couldn't clear my ears at all.  

I've gotten relief for a lot of my other thyroid symptoms with vitamins and minerals.  The research shows that a low thyroid can cause you to be deficient in a lot of different nutrients do to malabsorption and inability to metabolize and convert vitamins into their active forms.   Specifically, you do not convert beta-carotene into the active version of vitamin A that your body uses.  

I started hunting around for research related to eustachian tube and vitamins, and found nothing about humans, but eventually I found some for animals.  And it was all about vitamin A deficiency.  

In the ear, air is constantly being lost from the ear cavity through the soft tissues of the ear, by a process of difussion which isn't well understood.  If the soft tissue lining the ear cavity is too thin or too porous, you will lose the air a lot faster than normal.  I think this is what is happening for many of us with ETD.  Also, the eustachian tube itself may be sticky, due to the lining of the soft tissues being compromised.  Vitamin A is needed to properly make the epithelial lining of your soft tissues in your eustachian tubes, your ears, your nose and throat and your eyes (and probably everywhere in your body).  If you don't have enough, your soft tissues get scaly and dry, inflexible.  In your ears, that means your eustachian tubes get stuck closed (or maybe stuck open too!) and also the air is lost faster from your ear cavity, causing pressure changes faster than normal.  

I found a retinal acetate 5,000 IU vitamin supplement, and started taking that every day and it worked immediately the first day, and has kept my ears clear the past three days!  I know that isn't very long, and maybe I'm celebrating too early, but after dealing with this for so long, three days of not having this problem is too wonderful, I had to share my discovery.

Hope this helps some of you!

P.S.  I also take a low dose zinc and copper supplement.  Zinc helps you move vitamin A around the body.  Without sufficient zinc, you will not benefit form taking vitamin A.   And copper is important to take with zinc, and is also important for the building blocks of soft tissue.  

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  • Posted

    Thank you for posting this, very interesting!  I hope you continue to have success with the Vit A.

    I am wondering if there is also a link with Allergies and Vit A deficiency? let us know if your Allergies improve as well.

    Also, if the air is lost faster from your ear cavity, causing pressure changes faster than normal, could this be a link to migraines?  I have sufferred from migraines for over 30 years and know that pressure is a trigger.

    I am definitely going to try the Vit A with Zinc and Copper.

    Thanks so much for sharing this.

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    • Posted

      Helene,  I have had sinus headaches nearly every day the past few years, and I do think is related.  I'm learning that a lot of different deficiencies can cause headaches and migraines.  

      Here are a few other supplements which helped my headaches the most so far:  magnesium, choline and B12 methylcobalmin sublinqual tablets.  

      Be cautious with the B12.  The B12 gave me a horrible headache an hour after taking it the first few days, but I found if I broke the sublingual down into tiny pieces, and took them slowly throughout the day, it was better.  If I felt my headache starting, I just took another piece of the B12.  Headaches are a major symptom of B12 deficiency.  I think what happens  when you start supplementing, especially with the sublingual, the B12 goes to your brain first, but your body, which is deficient, steals it back from your brain and you get a headache.  So you need to build up your supplies slowly.  I gave up B12 supplements for a while until someone suggested this slow approach.  Now, after six weeks of building, I can take the full 1,000 mcg sublingual at one time and I don't get a headache at all.


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    • Posted

      Thank you for the info. I was on B12 injections for about a year but they were of little help with the migraines unfortunately.

      My Dr put me on Nadalol and that is the only thing that has ever helped, I have had no real, full on migraines since being on it. It took 25 years to finally find a Dr that was prepared to try to find a cure for me, after trying everything including alternative remedies etc etc.

      There are side effects, however they are easier to cope with than having horrific migraines that put me in bed for days!

      Nadalol is a prescription medication where I live, but I have heard that you can buy it over the counter in the USA 

      I still get headaches sometimes, especially from my allergy to Fragrances, which are in almost every product consumers use in the home. 

      I live in New Zealand, and it is very difficult to find products that are Fragrance Free. I often have to buy online from overseas.  The postage is very expensive to NZ therefore this makes it very costly.

      I am going to try the Vitamin A as it sounds logical, I will let you  know how it goes, and if it has any positive effect with my allergies.

      Thanks again.


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  • Posted

    Thank you so much Amy! Wow!! I'm going out to buy vitamins now. Do you mind telling us what brand and dosage you use? Thank you!!
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    • Posted

      Vitamin A in it's retinol palmitate or retinol acetate form is the best.  But you must be careful because you can eventually overdose on vitamin A if you take a lot and for a long time, whereas you can't overdose on beta-carotene.   

      How much you need depends on how deficient you are, and how much you weigh.   I weigh 130 pounds, and I think I must be pretty deficient to feel such a difference so fast, from only 5,000IU.   The brand I have is "dry" vitamin A in tablet form.  I may try cutting it in half and taking half in the morning and the other half in the afternoon to help my body absorb it without shocking my system.  

      For that reason, I recommend buying the smallest dosage you can find, so you have more control over dosing.   I could only find it online in this form and low dosage.  None of the local vitamin shops had it in this form.

      NOTE:  Vitamin A is necessary for converting thyroid hormones into their active form.  If you have been deficient in Vitamin A, you may experience a surge in active thyroid hormone after taking it.  If you have any heart racing or palpitations, take B1 - Thiamine.  For good measure, take a B complex, but especially extra Thiamine.  


      Emis Moderator comment: I have removed product/company names as we do not allow repeated posting of these in the forums. If users wish to exchange these details please use the Private Message service.

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  • Edited

    It's been three weeks and I thought I'd update on my progress.  I upped my dosage of vitamin A after the first week, to about 20,000 IU a day, because I really notice a big improvement when taking it, and I also decided I must be pretty deficient to have such a noticable response to it.   I wish there was a test you can take to find out what your Vitamin A levels are, like the one for vitamin D.  Then I'd know how long to take it.  But there is no such test.  So I'm having my liver enzymes checked by my doctor to make sure things are ok while taking the vitamin A, and so far so good.  Just got my results back today and everything is fine.     

    I'm also taking a coenzymated B-complex, with methylfolate because folate, and other b-vitamins can affect the soft tissues of the mouth and throat, just like vitamin A can.   

    For the past week, I no longer feel like I have to pop my ears every minute, like I had been feeling three weeks ago.  

    Has anyone else tried vitamin A?

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  • Edited

    Hello Amy, much apreciation for sharing your research. Very interesting

    I have been taking multivitamins for some time now. However, nothing has made a difference (containing Vitamin A 3,500 IU; Zinc 15mg; Copper 2mg). I have been suffering from ETD for about 20years (growing worse) and have not been able to find a single solution. I get exausted very easily do to popping my ears every second of every day. Doctors have only been prescribing for allergies. There has been thyroid issues in my family history, so I am wondering if that has could be affecting me as well.

    I will try your solution and keep you posted on my results! Thank you!

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  • Posted

    Thank you for this overview it is excellent and interesting. Do you know where one buys retinyl acetate 5000 IU? I only find palmitate. Thank you so much
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    • Posted

      I'm pretty sure I can't recommend a brand or include links on this site.

      A pharmacist should be able to help you find retinyl palmitate (vitamin A) in the grocery store. Choose the lowest dosage available.

      Or you could eat beef liver which naturally contains high amounts along with other vitamins that are really good.

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  • Posted

    Hey Amy! For years, I have been dealing with inner ear problems where my voice sounds muffled. As an adolescent, I used to have seasonal allergies, but since this ailment, I haven't really had allergies (sneezing, runny nose, etc.). 2 to 3 years ago I had my thyroid tested and results indicated my thyroid was healthy. I've been to doctors many times without any real solutions. An ENT did diagnose me with patulous eustachian tube but I never felt like I fit that category because the symptoms are normally that people hear their own voice abnormally loud. After reading your post, I think that my issue is similar to yours and taking vitamin A will help a lot. Has taking vitamin A significantly helped you hear your own voice more clear?

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    • Posted

      I've been doing well. I still occasionally experience a bit of muffling of my own voice. I tried to stop the vitamin A, and was fine for a while but it started coming back.

      I've started to realize I'm not absorbing vitamins very well bcs of low stomach acid related to thyroid. I did at one time last year think I had Reflux and thought that was my issue. But it was the opposite. Low stomach acid and malabsorption leading to deficiencies. I think this is the cause of my problems. Now I actually take citric acid (vitamin C) to side with absorption and I take a digestive enzyme. That's helping. Still, I developed a sore tip of my tongue which is classic b-vitamin deficiency sign. So now I'm really taking a lot of the B-vitamins. It's made me realize I'm happier. And my ears are also not muffling at all. I think the vitamins all work together and if you are low in one, you are probably low in others.

      I have made it through the whole summer now without any allergy meds. I haven't taken a decongestant in 9 months!

      I'm not on any thyroid meds either. The vitamins and digestive help seems to be all I needed.

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  • Edited

    Incredible stuff - definitely worth a try! Did you also suffer from vit D def and GERD?
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    • Edited

      My Vit D was in the low part of the range. I take 2,000 IU daily and I do notice a difference in my mood if I don't take it.

      I was once told I had silent reflux but they never actually saw acid rise up. I had stomach pain and swollen throat and sinuses and ear pain. But none of the reflux solutions helped. That's bcs I actually had low stomach acid and as a result, problems digesting food and problems absorbing vitamins.

      I think acid reducing drugs should never be given without confirming the problem, bcs they can lead to a person becoming malnourished and all kinds of new problems. I'm lucky I didn't go on for months before figuring it out.

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