by Lynn Hinderliter CN, LDN

The most common childhood complaint for which my advice is sought is the ear infection, or Otitis Media. For many years I have fought something of an uphill battle in the effort to convince parents that generally the major component of this situation is not the infection, but an underlying allergy that causes it, and that until this is addressed, the problem will continue to recur, no matter what is done: not only that, but in my opinion when the final step is taken, the insertion of ear tubes (for which there are no studies to support any ameliorative effect), then the allergy will simply go underground and manifest itself in some other unpleasant way, possibly even much later in life. Ear Infection

I realize this is an unsupported prediction, but the way so much of what I’ve been saying for 30 years is finally entering the mainstream, I confidently expect this to be validated in time! When this was written I though I was just whistling in the wind, but in 1999 a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association stated that children receiving amoxicillin for chronic Otitis Media may not respond any better than those not treated with antibiotics, and may actually suffer up to 6 times the rate of recurrence. (Whole Foods July 99 p.101.) Ear Infection

Allergies disproportionately affect i) mucus membranes and ii) organs accessed by narrow tubes ( scientific jargon, you see). Just in case you think I am setting up these criteria so that I can triumphantly link them to the ear, I will mention that gall bladder problems can be relieved by addressing allergies in an amazing 90% of cases, and nobody disputes the link between asthma and allergy, or colon problems and allergy. The mechanism is simple in the case of the ear: allergies cause tubes to swell, trapping bacteria and liquid, and this leads to infection. Ear Infection

Ear infections in childhood have shown a link to asthma, which is no surprise at all.  The lungs are also filled with narrow tubes lined with mucus membrane! Ear Infection

The most common allergens for ear problems are indisputably milk, wheat, eggs, corn and soy. Chocolate, citrus, peanuts, sugar and yeast can also be implicated. Infants who are not breast fed commonly receive formulas containing the first 5 foods; and even some children who are breastfed, but have solids introduced early, are not able to digest them because at this stage in their lives, their digestive systems are really only designed by nature to handle the proteins present in mother’s milk: the introduction of unexpectedly large protein molecules into the immature digestive system leads to their entering the bloodstream unaltered, stimulating the body’s defenses to attack them as unfriendly invaders and leading not only to allergies, but often to something called leaky gut syndrome, which can compromise health in other serious ways. Ear Infection

The death rate from asthma for African-Americans is four to six times that of whites. Among African American children, the number of cases was 20 times higher in 1997 than in 1970.  There is no doubt in my mind that there is a link here between milk and wheat intolerances and ear infections, and subsequently asthma, particularly  when you bear in mind that a substantial percentage of African Americans are blood type O.  Read Dr. D’Adamo’s blood type theories here. Ear Infection


As a long-term defense, in conjunction with the dietary changes, add the nutrients that help support the immune system such as  Vit. C, Zinc, the B vitamins, Essential Fatty Acids, and MOST IMPORTANT, in itself one thing that can make the difference between continuing infections and no infections, cod liver oil, a source of Vits. A & D. Incidentally, Cod liver Oil is also a source of Omega 3 fatty acids, leading to Linoleic and Alpha-Linolenic acid in the body. Recent studies in Italy showed that these substances definitely reduced the number of respiratory tract infections in children. You see, Grandmother did know best!  See RESOURCES for web.md’s take on a recent study showing the beneficial effects of cod liver oil on ear problems. Ear Infection

Another soothing and often effective ritual you can perform to help the ear is the use of Ear Candles, or Ear Cones. A study from Italy looked at 15 schoolchildren suffering from painful ear infections: most of the children reported a remarkable reduction in pain after only five minutes from the end of the treatment with the cone. At a test carried out two hours later the pain had not returned.  (RIZA Centre of Natural Medicine – Milan) Ear Infection

There are also herbal drops which can be put directly in the ear to soothe it, and we highly recommend a combination of olive oil, garlic, calendula flowers, willow bark, usnea and vitamin E, made especially for kids. It is wonderfully helpful. Your Doctor can guide you as to whether your child will be helped or harmed by drops put directly into the ear, it isn’t recommended for everyone and particularly not if the ear is discharging. Echinacea is a safe herb that can be used to assist the immune system in fighting these infections: there are sweet-tasting drops and chewable tablets available for children. Ear Infection

I have been hearing a great deal about the effectiveness of Silver Solutions for this problem:  if you would like to read about this, and try this approach, click here. Ear Infection

If you would like to know all there is to know about this problem, I recommend a book by Dr. Michael A. Schmidt called Healing Childhood Ear Infections. It is a comprehensive and accurate approach, and very helpful. It also goes into interesting detail about the problems of excessive use of antibiotics and the development of bacteria which have become resistant to antibiotics. Ear Infection

Find the recommended supplements here

Ear Infections→Antibiotics- →Autism? – http://www.emediawire.com/releases/2005/1/emw194276.htm

Vitamin A and Diarrhea – http://www.vitasearch.com/get-clp-summary/35727​

New study on Cod Liver Oil (from Carlson’s, I might add!) and ear infections – http://my.webmd.com/content/article/1830.52253

Using Prevnar to counter ear infections may lead to something worse. – http://www.biomedcentral.com/news/20030523/05

Zinc and Tinnitus – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=12543156&dopt=Abstract

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