If You Want to Reduce the Chance of Vertigo, These Foods Are the Way to Go
If you suffer from vertigo attacks, you are not alone. About 40 percent of Americans have experienced vertigo at some point in time. Vertigo can be disturbing, even incapacitating, and can have an impact on your day-to-day activities.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Nearly 80 percent of those affected by vertigo report missed employment and the need for medical attention. Modifying your diet by including foods known to minimize the effects of vertigo may help relieve your symptoms of dizziness.
There aren't any specific foods that can treat your vertigo. But eating a healthy diet that includes foods that are rich in vitamin D, such as salmon and fortified milk, and vitamin B12, such as meat and fortified grains, may help.
What Is Vertigo?
Vertigo is not a condition or a diagnosis — it's a description of a sensation. Vertigo can be described as a perception of motion — most often spinning with lightheadedness, dizziness and a feeling of unbalance. It is caused by a vestibular dysfunction that stems from your inner ear.
Your inner ear and cerebellum are responsible for maintaining your balance and perception of stability. Your brain regulates muscular activity and requires good blood flow and oxygen supply to maintain your balance. Your ear needs a proper equilibrium of fluid, and the slightest variation in the volume and composition can make your upright body posture difficult to maintain.
Vertigo is about two-thirds more prevalent in women than men. It can occur at any age but usually happens more frequently as you get older. The condition of vertigo may be temporary or chronic.
- Vertigo is not a condition or a diagnosis — it's a description of a sensation.
- Your inner ear and cerebellum are responsible for maintaining your balance and perception of stability.
What Causes Vertigo?
Vertigo and Vitamin Treatment
Vertigo is a symptom of various conditions. The most common cause of vertigo is BPPV, or benign positional paroxysmal vertigo 3. BPPV happens as a result of the accumulation of calcium carbonate deposits in the canal of the inner ear. Because your inner ear controls your sense of balance, sudden head movements trigger episodes of severe dizziness.
Among other causes of vertigo are inner ear diseases, such as labyrinthitis and Meniere’s disease, head trauma and viral infections. Vertigo is sometimes associated with systemic diseases, such as diabetes and osteoporosis, according to a study published in Advances in Otolaryngology in 2014.
Vertigo can also result from a condition in your brain or central nervous system, such as vestibular migraine, vestibular neuritis, multiple sclerosis or brain tumor. Drugs associated with medicine-induced vertigo include anticonvulsants, antibiotics and phenytoins.
- Vertigo is a symptom of various conditions.
- Because your inner ear controls your sense of balance, sudden head movements trigger episodes of severe dizziness.
Symptoms of Vertigo
- Sudden spinning, tilting or dizziness
- Sensation of spinning or feeling of unsteadiness and imbalance
- Vision impairment or difficulty focusing
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Increased heartbeat
- Nausea and vomiting :
Diagnosing and Treating Vertigo
Foods That Cause Inner Ear Problems
With the many possible causes of vertigo, it’s important to be diagnosed to determine the reason you are experiencing dizziness. For example, to confirm if you have BPPV, quickly turning your head to the side will likely induce rapid or involuntary eye movements in addition to severe dizziness.
Your doctor may recommend special exercises, such as Epley maneuver, or physical therapy 15. Finding out what is causing your vertigo will help you understand what dietary modifications you can make and what foods to avoid that trigger vertigo.
You may be prescribed medications, such as steroids to reduce ear inflammation or water pills to reduce fluid buildup in your ears. Depending on the diagnosis, specific vertigo diets or dietary modifications may help you alleviate the severity of the episodes.
- With the many possible causes of vertigo, it’s important to be diagnosed to determine the reason you are experiencing dizziness.
- You may be prescribed medications, such as steroids to reduce ear inflammation or water pills to reduce fluid buildup in your ears.
Will Diet Really Help Vertigo?
The food you eat is digested and absorbed, affecting every cell in your body, including your inner ear, which is why your diet may play a role in maintaining vestibular health.
Since vertigo and tinnitus are often common complaints among the elderly, a study was conducted to determine if there was an association between dietary habits and vertigo 2. Researchers used benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) to find out if nutrition had an effect on 487 elderly patients 6.
The findings, published in the International Archive of Otorhinolaryngology in 2015, reported a significant relation between BPPV and inadequate carbohydrate and fiber intake. The subjects had diets rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids.
From the conclusions of the study, the authors stressed the importance of reducing the intake of fats and carbohydrates and increasing fiber to control triglycerides as part of an anti-vertigo diet to minimize adverse effects of dizziness.
- The food you eat is digested and absorbed, affecting every cell in your body, including your inner ear, which is why your diet may play a role in maintaining vestibular health.
- From the conclusions of the study, the authors stressed the importance of reducing the intake of fats and carbohydrates and increasing fiber to control triglycerides as part of an anti-vertigo diet to minimize adverse effects of dizziness.
Eat Foods Rich in Vitamin D
- Fatty fish, such as tuna and salmon
- Fortified foods, such as dairy, orange juice and cereals
- Beef liver
- Egg yolks
- Cheese :
To reduce your salt intake, substitute fresh herbs such as:
- dill for seasoning
Spice up your meals using paprika, garlic, red pepper, cayenne or other dried spices as a substitute to add flavor.
Ginkgo biloba is a Chinese herb known to help resolve symptoms of vertigo, possibly by increasing blood flow to the brain to relieve dizziness and imbalance issues. To investigate the effect ginkgo biloba has on vertigo, a study compared ginkgo with a commonly used anti-vertigo medication called betahistine. The 2014 trial evaluated 160 patients with symptoms of vertigo over a period of 12 months.
The results, published in the International Journal of Otolaryngology, found that ginkgo biloba had a slightly better effect than betahistine in the treatment and management of symptoms of vertigo 4. Ginkgo biloba also had fewer adverse reactions.
- Ginkgo biloba is a Chinese herb known to help resolve symptoms of vertigo, possibly by increasing blood flow to the brain to relieve dizziness and imbalance issues.
- To investigate the effect ginkgo biloba has on vertigo, a study compared ginkgo with a commonly used anti-vertigo medication called betahistine.
Drink Ginger Tea
Ginger helps blood circulation and controls inflammation, so it may help to decrease the episodes of vertigo. Ginger root, steeped in a cup of boiling water for five minutes, makes a ginger tea that you can drink twice a day to relieve dizziness, nausea and other vertigo symptoms.
Research published in the Journal of Acupuncture and Tuina Science in 2016 found that ginger root reduced the symptoms of vertigo better than the commonly used BPPV therapy of manual repositioning, such as the Epley maneuver 7.
Read more: Benefits of Drinking Ginger Tea
- Ginger helps blood circulation and controls inflammation, so it may help to decrease the episodes of vertigo.
- Ginger root, steeped in a cup of boiling water for five minutes, makes a ginger tea that you can drink twice a day to relieve dizziness, nausea and other vertigo symptoms.
Eat Vitamin B12-Rich Foods
Deficiencies in vitamin B12 may cause symptoms of dizziness and fainting 10. Low vitamin B12 is related to impairment of the nervous system and neurological problems, including low blood pressure causing dizziness, lack of balance and decreased blood flow to your brain.
Fortified foods, such as breakfast cereals, are also good sources of vitamin B12.
Read more: Symptoms of Low B12
- Deficiencies in vitamin B12 may cause symptoms of dizziness and fainting.
A Handful of Almonds
Eating nuts may relieve some of the discomfort of vertigo. Nuts are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, helping with inflammation, which can potentially be a cause of vertigo.
Nuts may improve blood circulation in your body, including your inner ear, and reduce the buildup of pressure in your inner ear due to excess fluid, explains NeuroEquilibrium 112. However, if your vertigo is due to a vestibular migraine, nuts should be avoided.
Read more: 17 Reasons Why You Probably Need More Omega-3s in Your Diet
- Eating nuts may relieve some of the discomfort of vertigo.
- Nuts may improve blood circulation in your body, including your inner ear, and reduce the buildup of pressure in your inner ear due to excess fluid, explains NeuroEquilibrium.
An ayurvedic home remedy that is alleged to treat vertigo involves smelling chopped onions. By inhaling the smell forcibly until tears start to flow, the idea is that vasodilation, or dilation of blood vessels, is produced which brings more blood supply to your brain. According to NDTV Food, sandalwood oil or incense is also claimed to be effective 1116.
When to See a Doctor
If you have regular occurrences of vertigo, you should consult your doctor. Usually vertigo is not harmful, but the underlying cause should be identified, especially if dietary changes and home remedies do not help 5.
Vertigo and Vitamin Treatment
Foods That Cause Inner Ear Problems
Foods That Cause Dizziness
Magnesium & Sensitive Hearing
Herbs for Vertigo
Foods That Reduce Ringing in Ear
A Sudden Ringing in the Ears
Nutritional Deficiency and Ringing in the Ears
How to Improve Inner Ear Circulation
Ears Ringing After Eating
- NeuroEquilibrium: Vertigo
- International Archive of Otorhinolaryngology: Is There a Possible Association Between Dietary Habits and Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo in the Elderly? The Importance of Diet and Counseling
- Journal of Neurology: Decreased Serum Vitamin D in Idiopathic Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo
- International Journal of Otolaryngology: Treatment of Vertigo: A Randomized, Double-Blind Trial Comparing Efficacy and Safety of Ginkgo biloba Extract EGb 761 and Betahistine
- Medical News Today: What Are the Home Remedies for Vertigo?
- Advances in Otolaryngology: Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo: An Integrated Perspective
- Journal of Acupuncture and Tuina Science: Clinical Observation on Ginger-Partitioned Moxibustion Plus Manual Repositioning for Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)
- Medical Hypotheses: Vitamin D Deficiency and Benign Paroxysmal Positioning Vertigo
- National Institutes of Health: Vitamin B12
- University Health News: Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms Can Range Far Beyond Fatigue
- NDTVFood: 6 Effective Ways to Get Rid of Vertigo
- NeuroEquilibrium: Here's a Diet to Help You With Vertigo
- Vertigo Treatment: Vertigo Diet – Understand And Treat Conditions Such As Meniere’s Disease And Vestibular Migraine
- StatPearls: Vertigo
- Meniere's Society: Other Non-Surgical Treatments
- UCSF Health: Vertigo
- Stanton M, Freeman AM. Vertigo. [Updated 2020 Apr 28]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan.
- Merck Manual Professional Version. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. Updated October 2018.
- Cleveland Clinic. Vestibular neuritis. Updated May 31, 2019.
- National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Ménière's disease. Updated February 13, 2017.
- Thompson TL, Amedee R. Vertigo: a review of common peripheral and central vestibular disorders. Ochsner J. 2009;9(1):20–26.
- National Organization for Rare Disorders. Ramsay Hunt Syndrome. Updated 2011.
- National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Dizziness and vertigo.
- American Heart Association. Syncope (fainting). Updated June 30, 2017.
- Walther LE. Current diagnostic procedures for diagnosing vertigo and dizziness. GMS Curr Top Otorhinolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2017;16:Doc02. doi:10.3205/cto000141
- Hussain K, Murdin L, Schilder AG. Restriction of salt, caffeine and alcohol intake for the treatment of Ménière's disease or syndrome. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2018;12:CD012173. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD012173.pub2
- Hilton MP, Pinder DK. The Epley (canalith repositioning) manoeuvre for benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014;(12):CD003162. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD003162.pub3
- Han BI, Song HS, Kim JS. Vestibular rehabilitation therapy: review of indications, mechanisms, and key exercises. J Clin Neurol. 2011;7(4):184-96. doi:10.3988/jcn.2011.7.4.184
- Chiu C-W et al. Efficacy and safety of acupuncture for dizziness and vertigo in emergency department: a pilot cohort study. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2015; 15: 173. doi:10.1186/s12906-015-0704-6
Gord Kerr's professional background is primarily in business and management consulting. In 1991, Kerr started writing freelance for a small local newspaper, "The Summerland Review," and a leading sailing publication, "Cruising World Magazine." Kerr has a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Wilfred Laurier University.