Tinnitus is a known sign of age-related hearing loss. But the onset of ringing and other sounds in your ears might also be a sign of vitamin B12 deficiency, also known as folate deficiency anaemia.
The job of vitamin B12 is to keep your blood and cells healthy, among other things.
When levels of the nutrient are low, ear cells can become damaged, which is what causes tinnitus.
Vitamin B12 deficiency, or folate deficiency anaemia, has been shown in studies to kick-start damage in the nerve cells of your ears through a process called demyelination. This is when the protective layering that surrounds your nerves becomes damaged.
The types of sounds you may hear in your ears if you have tinnitus include ringing, buzzing, whooshing, humming, hissing and throbbing, explains the NHS.
It can also increase your risk of coronary heart disease. Low intakes of vitamin B12 have been linked to a risk of a chemical called blood homocysteine.
Homocysteine can increase the risk of blood vessels blocking up. Homocysteine is a type of amino acid that is used to make proteins.
Vitamin B12 usually helps transform it into something useful to the body.
But with lower levels of this vitamin, there is more of it hanging around – which is what causes a greater risk of blood clots.