A pint of Guinness each day may help to prevent you from going deaf, new research suggests.
The popular beverage contains high levels of iron, which scientists believe helps to ward off hearing loss. While leafy green vegetables, brown rice and some meat may also help, according to a new study.
But around 30 per cent of the world’s population are believed to be anaemic leaving them at risk of losing their ability to hear, experts say.
A study of more than 300,000 people found a link between iron deficiency anaemia (IDA) and hearing loss.
Pennsylvania State University researchers found a lack of the mineral can cause sensorinerual hearing loss – damage to the cochlea or nerve pathways. While they also discovered it could also cause conductive hearing loss – problems with the bones in the middle of the ear.
They used data from electronic medical records to determine the rate of IDA. Around 1.6 per cent of participants were found to have either conductive, sensorineural hearing loss and deafness. While 0.7 per cent were believed to have IDA.
They found a significant association between the condition and sensorineural hearing loss – which was present in 1.1 per cent of sufferers. And conductive hearing loss was present in 3.4 per cent of those with conductive hearing loss.
A further analysis confirmed the increased odds of both forms of hearing loss among patients with IDA, the study published in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery found.
Study author Kathleen Schieffer said: ‘An association exists between IDA in adults and hearing loss.
‘The next steps are to better understand this correlation and whether promptly diagnosing and treating IDA may positively affect the overall health status of adults with hearing loss.’ Iron deficiency anaemia is a condition where a lack of iron in the body leads to a reduction in the number of red blood cells.
It is believed to be very common, especially among women. In England, post operative patients used to be given Guinness because of its high iron content. Although Guinness and its parent company, Diageo, make no such claims today, its advertising slogan from the 1920’s was ‘Guinness is good for you!’
But nutritionists warn a pint contains less than three per cent of the iron needed daily. Previous research suggested it may work as well as a low dose aspirin to prevent heart clots that raise the risk of heart attacks.
It is believed antioxidant compounds in the drink, similar to those found in certain fruits and vegetables, are responsible for the health benefits because they slow down the deposit of harmful cholesterol on the artery walls.
But Diageo, now never makes any medical claims for their drinks and runs advertisements that call for ‘responsible drinking’.