Possible Causes of Vertigo & How To Improve Naturally
If you or someone you love has been struggling with vertigo, then you'll definitely want to tune into this one.
What is Vertigo?
Vertigo is a bothersome condition that affects up to 20% of adults, which is quite a few of us. Vertigo triggers a sensation that the room is spinning around you, and it can be quite scary and debilitating vertigo can lead to falls or other troublesome symptoms such as nausea, migraines, double vision, weakness, and extremities, or even hearing loss.
In this topic, we are going to dig down under the surface of vertigo to understand the root causes of why it occurs and how to improve symptoms naturally.
Let's jump in.
Hello everyone. My name is Katie Krejci and I am a gut health functional medicine dietitian at Oswald digestive clinic, where we help people improve and eliminate bothersome gut issues like gas, blow diarrhea, constipation, and more.
You can schedule an initial appointment or start by just downloading our free guide: 5 ways to improve gut health.
So today's topic is all about the possible causes of vertigo and how to improve it naturally. Vertigo again is a state where the individual feels like the room is spinning in circles around them leading to feeling dizzy and off balance. Not only is this a troubling feeling, but it can lead to falls, which can be dangerous. Now vertigo tends to affect women more than men and can happen at any age, but most often occurs later in life.
And did you know that there are actually two different types of vertigo?
Types of Vertigo
Peripheral vertigo occurs when there is an issue within the inner ear. And this type is the most common occurring in up to 85% of cases. Often the issue is triggered by displaced calcium particles and infection in the vestibular nerve or fluid buildup in the inner ear.
Peripheral vertigo can often be triggered when the head is moved in certain positions, such as laying back in bed or tipping the head back while showering.
Central vertigo occurs when there is an issue within the brain itself, such as a stroke, a traumatic brain injury or a concussion, a brain tumor, multiple sclerosis, or an infection.
Conventional treatments for vertigo include anti-depressants anti-anxiety medications and pharmaceuticals to lessen the symptoms of nausea and spinning.
However, none of these are that effective and come with their own hosts of side effects as a functional nutrition provider. I think you and I can do better than that by tackling the root cause of vertigo naturally.
Root causes of Vertigo
So what are the possible root causes of vertigo? before we jump in, I just want a pause for a second to say that there is still a lot that we don't know about vertigo, but I'll do my best to provide you with the most up-to-date information that we know at this point.
And while there are some true physical causes of vertigo as I listed, today's discussion is focused on the cases of vertigo that can be improved with functional interventions.
1. Inadequate fiber intake and an apple a day really can keep the doctor away.
A 2015 study found that when looking at dietary patterns of a group of elderly patients, inadequate fiber intake was significantly associated with incidents of vertigo. And fiber is an essential part of our diet to promote a healthy and diverse microbiome, which refers to our gut environment or our gut garden of healthy bacteria which is the hub of our health.
Hippocrates had it correct from the beginning with his quote, "all disease begins in the gut". If your gut isn't happy, then your body won't be happy either. If you've been struggling with gut issues, don't hesitate to reach out to us at Oswald digestive clinic. We are experts in this space and would love to help you.
This one likely doesn't come as a surprise as stress itself is inflammatory. And it appears to be at the root of a lot of troublesome symptoms and conditions.
A 2006 study dug into this association by comparing 50 patients with vertigo to 50 patients without vertigo. And what they found is that those with vertigo reported significantly more life events the year before their vertigo started events that were viewed as being negative or associated with a poor degree of control seemed to be the most impactful. On the other hand, positive life events seem to have no effect whatsoever.
So this definitely gives us some insight as to what may be playing a role in the development of vertigo's possible root cause.
3. Inflammation and oxidative stress
Inflammation is a very common topic in our functional nutrition practice because it is at the root of nearly all chronic diseases and vertigo is likely no different while the research is still in its infancy.
Here a 2021 paper looked into the relationship between inflammation and vertigo. And what they found is that there is an association between having vertigo and higher levels of inflammation in oxidative stress, which is the state of having excess damaging free radicals in relation to those protective antioxidants.
4. Vitamin D deficiency.
The role of vitamin D deficiency in vertigo has been explored by many different studies. However, the results are generally inconclusive.
This was based on a 2018 meta-analysis that took an in-depth look at 37 studies that involved this topic. And what they found is that there are some reports of low vitamin D in those with vertigo. However, there just really wasn't enough consistent evidence to support an overall association.
While vitamin D is certainly an important nutrient many of us are deficient in its role, specifically in vertigo is still yet to be determined.
Now we've come to the exciting part, how to improve your vertigo naturally. Now, before we jump into actionable steps you can try to improve your symptoms of vertigo. I just want to say that these are general recommendations, and I certainly don't know your personal health history to provide individualized interventions.
However, if you would like an individualized nutrition plan, definitely reach out to us at Oswald digestive clinic, we would love to help you.
Ways to improve Vertigo naturally
What are some things that you can implement to find relief?
1. Increasing that fiber intake
As we discussed above an adequate fiber intake is tied with vertigo. And this is an overall huge issue that our population faces today.
Only 5% of our population reaches the recommended amount of fiber daily, which is 25 grams for women and 38 grams per day for men. However, we should really be shooting for like 30 to 50 grams daily for optimal results.
The current mean intake for the United States is only a meager 16.2 grams in the general population. So we certainly can do a whole lot better than this.
All right. So how can you get more fiber into your diet?
So the best way to do this is by focusing on one ingredient, whole foods that are found in nature and not in a box, these foods provide vibrant colors and loads of nutrients. So that's going to be things like your fruits and your vegetables, nuts and seeds, whole grains like oats, brown rice, and quinoa and beans.
You'll notice that some whole foods like meats and healthy fats like olive oil and coconut oil aren't included on this list while they are essential and wonderful additions to our diet. For other reasons, they are not a good source of fiber.
Other steps that we can do to maximize our fiber intake is to reduce our intake of low fiber nutrient void items, such as candy and desserts, refined, or processed grain products like crackers and sugar cereals, white bread, and white pasta. Also just colorless meals in general, like Mac and cheese or your hamburger helper, or most fast food.
When you look at your plate, it should reflect the rainbow. Focusing on whole food sources for fiber is best, but if you need an extra boost, I do have a list of my favorite fiber supplements below.
Fiber supplement recommendation:
2. Stress-Relieving techniques
Our conversation certainly wouldn't be complete without talking about that ever-present stress and how we handle negative life events. And let's be honest. I know that working on this is easier said than done, but it really does work getting into a daily routine of incorporating stress.
Relieving techniques are something that I commonly include in my work with my clients. And I know it can help you too. There are a lot of different techniques out there and you may need to try a few of them until you're able to find one that works well for you.
Stress relieving techniques are a lot like exercise. Someone might prefer jogging while another prefers weightlifting. Yet another prefers Pilates. You might have to try out a few until you find a good fit that you can enjoy and be consistent with.
So what are some of these techniques?
The first is guided meditation. This can be particularly helpful and you don't need to do a marathon meditation of 30 minutes to make a difference. Even five minutes has been shown to be beneficial.
A 2018 study found that the participants who engaged in daily meditation for just 21 days experienced a significant reduction in stress and inflammatory markers, such as cortisol, interleukin six, and TNF alpha. They even found a beneficial impact on gene expression. And so that's referring to how our genes actually behave.
If you'd like to give meditation a try, there are some great apps out there that you can download on your phone, like Headspace and Calm, and it really walks you through an easy way.
Deep belly breathing is one of my favorites and something you can incorporate anywhere at work in your car before bed. You name it time in nature can be wonderful.
Restorative movement, just like walking, yoga, Tai Chi, and Prayer can be impactful same with Gratitude and journaling
Studies have found that engaging in stress-relieving activities, results in the following benefits, lower cortisol levels and blood pressure, improved mood, concentration, pain tolerance, and overall resilience, epigenetic effects in inflammation, insulin sensitivity, and energy efficiency within the cells, mitochondria a decreased cardiovascular risk and improved neuroplasticity.
And so I just want to encourage you to pick three stress-relieving activities to try out this week. I'm confident that you'll feel better after incorporating a few.
3. Anti-inflammatory diet
Inflammation can come from many areas, such as high blood sugar and toxins to even just stress.
But the largest impact typically comes from the food that we eat, the standard American diet or the sad diet is typically filled with inflammatory foods, such as processed carbohydrates, simple sugars, gluten inflammatory seed oils, artificial colors, and many more food sensitivities are also becoming more and more common due to poor gut health and consuming foods.
You've developed a sensitivity to can also trigger inflammation. Yikes. A great place to start is shopping the perimeter of the grocery store. So avoid those tempting center aisles, cook from scratch, and focus on quality healing, whole foods.
We want to be eliminating things like gluten, cottonseed and sugar, and inflammatory seed oils. So things like soybean oil, canola oil, and cottonseed oil to name a few. Those are some great places to start. I'd like to challenge you to take a peek at the items in your fridge, and your pantry.
And I'm sure most of them have some form of gluten sugar or inflammatory oils in them. They are very common additives in processed foods like chips, crackers, and even things like salad, dressings, and Mayo.
Instead, we want to focus on quality meats. So ones that are organic pasture raised grass fed wild cut when possible, also organic produce and healthy fats like avocados, grass-fed Ghee, cold-pressed avocado oil, cold press olive oil, and nuts and seeds.
What this would look like in action is having organic pasture-based eggs with a vegetable hash for breakfast, having a kale salad with your favorite chopped veggies and blueberries with a homemade olive oil dressing topped with thinly sliced organic grass, fed steak for lunch, followed by roasted sweet potatoes and bell peppers with baked salmon for dinner.
That sounds great. Eating whole foods is a great way to reduce inflammation and improve your health, including that bothersome vertigo.
If this seems overwhelming to you, we would love to help you at Oswald digestive clinic, you can just schedule an appointment with us.
4. Try a few supplements
So once you have tackled eating whole foods, that's always step number one. Then you can consider adding other supplements to further your efforts in reducing the impact of vertigo if it's even needed. At that point, let's talk about a few supplements that could possibly help.
So melatonin is a safe supplement that is commonly used to support a good night's sleep. It also serves as a potent antioxidant and it has been proposed as a natural treatment to reduce vertigo symptoms.
2. Other anti-inflammatory supplements could be beneficial as curcumin and omega-3 fatty acids.
3. Gingko Biloba
Gingko Biloba has also been shown to be effective as pharmaceuticals or to be shown as effective as pharmaceuticals with 79% of study participants reporting their symptoms as very much improved or much improved. This is thought to be due to the improvement in blood flow to the brain, decreasing that blood viscosity and protecting the brain from oxidative damage.