Excessive Production of Ear Wax Cured with the Paleo Diet

Excessive Production of Ear Wax Cured with the Paleo Diet

Dr. Cordain,

The adoption of the Paleo Diet has been beneficial to my own health and fitness. I originally came across the Paleo Diet while trying to figure out the best foods to help with a severe tendon injury – all the things you need for collagen production – protein, vitamin C and copper-peptides – in other words meat/fish and vegetables! No wonder people on the Paleo Diet have good skin!

That was four years ago, and I have stayed on the Paleo Diet ever since. What came as a surprise was the effect the Paleo Diet had on my hearing. For pretty much all of my adult life I have suffered with excess ear wax that would reduce the quality of my hearing, sometimes to the point of becoming almost completely deaf in one ear (or at its worst both). Traveling by airplane was difficult as the take off and landings would put the wax in my ears under so much pressure I’d become virtually deaf for about an hour after. The only course of treatment available was regular syringing – which of course has the accompanying risk of ear drum damage – and nowadays local GPs and nurses are reluctant to offer this service (here in the UK) – so it usually means a trip to the hospital.

Thankfully, however, that is all behind me. Within two weeks of going Paleo my hearing had improved dramatically! My ears literally seemed to fix themselves – the wax in them becoming soft and sticky and drawing to the surface and eventually forming a small ball that just fell out of my ear. It didn’t take me long to figure out that anything with a high glycemic index would trigger the production of ear wax – and it would happen very, very quickly after eating. As soon as I stopped my ears would fix themselves once more. The severity of the reaction is different with different foods and is also affected by the condition of my body when I consume them (it has less effect if I’ve just had a workout). As a result it has made me extremely hardcore about carb avoidance – even sweet potatoes are off my dietary list – as these cause a severe reaction (much worse than regular potato).

Is this some bizarre autoimmune response? One specific to my genetic make up? Or perhaps it is in someway related to dairy? I have been dairy free for over twenty years.

All the best,


David Valentine is a UK based writer and filmmaker who enjoys exercising and eating in a way that incorporates our contemporary understanding of human evolutionary biology.

About The Paleo Diet Team

The Paleo Diet TeamThe Paleo Diet, the world’s healthiest diet, is based upon the fundamental concept that the optimal diet is the one to which we are genetically adapted. The therapeutic effect of The Paleo Diet is supported by both randomized controlled human trials and real-life success stories.

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“12” Comments

  1. I have developed a serious problem with ear wax build-up following a cold. I have eaten a lot of dairy over the years because I like it and because I have osteoporosis.. Is there any supplement you can take when consuming dairy that will prevent the wax build-up? Thank you.

  2. A few years ago I swapped my dogs’ food for a better quality one. It’s selling point was that the toxins created by inferior feed was eliminated by the dog via its coat, faeces, breath, eyes and yes! ears ( a good dog food excludes wheat, but does include rice which is of course also a carb). So now my dogs have shiny, minimum shedding coats, bright eyes, no gunk, clean nose, small dark poos (not too smelly) and yes brilliantly clean ears. To be strictly fair they are not the heavy hairy eared breed but even so … ; they have good teeth as well apart from the whippet’s canines.

    Anyway, just thought I’d mention it.

  3. Great article! I have an issue with leaking ears also, have done for my whole life, they get super smelly and leak all over my pillow and I constantly have to keep drying them with tissues. I have have narrowed it down to pretty much what you have described here with diet. Also dairy and saturated fats make it worse also and I notice almost immediately after eating these foods it happens. Do you think this could have a connection somehow with type 1 diabetes?? I’ve never been diagnosed with diabetes but I’m really skinny and can’t put on weight regardless of how much I eat…

  4. I’ve been on a Ketogenic diet for 7 months now. I’ve always been accustomed to cleaning my ears out with a Q-tip and one day I realized that I never have ear wax any longer. Like others leaving comments here, I too have improved hearing. Let’s hear it for Low/No carbs!!!

  5. So interesting. Thanks for this post. I have suffered intermittently with excessive ear was for many years. I have been 100% paleo for over 2 years (so no dairy) and have not noticed an improvement but have never really paid attention to what I’d eaten before it became worse. Well last night I ate a lot of sweet potato (which I don’t eat often) and this morning my ears are full of wax! I will be paying more attention to what triggers it from now on

  6. I stumbled across this page after researching “diet and ear wax.”‘ I am one week into the paleo diet and noticed that my ears are no longer filled with wax. I have suffered runny ears for as long as I can remember. In addition to ear wax reduction/elimination, my hormones have quickly regulated and my female cycle returned.

    • We are glad to hear about your success! Many people have reported success with earwax elimination by following The Paleo Diet. A few drops of hydrogen peroxide in each hear with the head tilted to for a few minutes also can be beneficial in the short term for dissolving and flushing out earwax.

  7. It has also come to my attention that a diet severely lacking in omega 3 can cause ear wax production. Trying to clean your ear can push the wax in and block it as well.

      • Hydrogen Peroxide is a very good way to clean the wax out of your ears, but you should only use 3% HP, which is highly diluted. Only twice a day, and no more than 3 consecutive days, if you have the problem that I have been having lately, and based upon my research HP can be damaging to your ear drums if overused, or your using the pure stuff. There are also many other natural remedies. Half Apple cider vinegar half mineral oil (or baby oil, which is the same, just scented mineral oil). I have been using just the baby oil because its real soothing and doesn’t irritate my ear at all. What is funny, this seemed to happen recently after indulging myself in a huge bag of pistachio’s over the past few days (may not be relevant, or may not have played a role in my ear wax production as I ate many other different things as well) Recently got one ear full of wax after a long hot shower, then as I was trying to clean the left ear, i decided to get some water in my right ear and clean it too. They both became clogged and have been for the past few days. I have tried everything, and researched many webpages over the past few days. Tried ear wax candles, I’m still skeptical. There are ear drops that are suppose to break down ear wax, one is Debrox which I tried first. It didn’t really seem to work, maybe It did it could have been so built up that it was just a work in progress. (I rarely clean my ears, so I’m guessing I have buildup over many years. I think every time I try something, I think it loosens up the ear wax, it moves a little, I get some out, but for the most part, it just moves it, then dries back up before it all drains out. Got off subject a little bit, but the other ear drop product is Auro Drops, which seem to work better. Surprisingly the active ingredients were quite different than that of Debrox, considering they had the same directions, explaining twice daily, no more than for 4 days. I hope some of this info may be helpful to people dealing with what I have been dealing with for the past few days. I am making progress but I still have a lot of wax inside my ears. I should have just gone with the easier approach and went to a ETN doctor to get the wax cleaned out of my ears, but now that I see I am making progress I may as well continue and continue to figure out which methods work best for me. I have been using baby oil in my ears every shower, and it seems to be the most effective. I get a lot of wax out after using it, and have found no information saying baby oil and mineral oil can be harmful, which it doesn’t fizz in my ear or anything like the HP, Debrox, or Auro Drops tend to do, the baby oil is just soothing and relieves soreness cause my the recent attention my ears have been receiving lately.

  8. Pingback: Shows how our body all works together… | sandymoll

  9. I am a practising physician in Sydney Australia

    4 decades back I recall an Ear Nose and Throat Surgeon recommending dairy avoidance as an ear wax accumulation prevention activity

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