A lack of the B-Complex Vitamin Folic Acid linked to hearing loss

January 04, 2011

    Folic acid is a member of the water-soluble B complex vitamin group. Isolated in 1946 from spinach leaves, its name comes from folium, the Latin word for leaf. In the body, folic acid is converted to its biologically active form tetrahydrofolic acid (THFA). Niacin and vitamin C are necessary for this conversion.

     A recent study sought to examine the relationship between age-related hearing loss and vitamin B12 and folic acid levels in elderly adults. The study included 126 men and women over the age of 60 years who were tested for hearing loss. Researchers found that a low serum level of folate was significantly associated with hearing loss in high frequencies. Vitamin B12 was not significantly associated with hearing loss in this study. These results suggest that age-related hearing loss may be linked to poor micronutrient status and that further studies are warranted to determine the role of other vitamins and the risk of hearing loss. The study appears in the December 2010 issue of the journal Otolaryngology Head Neck Surgery.