After researching stuttering, it is my belief that there is a very good chance that this condition is akin to epilepsy in that the same foods that are providing the neurologically active proteins described in the epilepsy paper (Idiopathic Epilepsy- The Dietary Solution) are the culprits in this frustrating and often embarrassing condition. I have now read accounts of stuttering people with celiac disease who were able to completely control this communication affliction with a gluten-free diet. However, there are also reports of celiacs with this that did not respond. My comment to them would be the same as my comments to other celiacs that are not reaching optimal health: “Gluten is only one of the culprits in the deterioration of our health. You must consider dairy (casein), soy protein, and corn as being capable of doing every bit as much harm as gluten.”
The neurologic system is greatly affected by these three foods, with gluten-containing grains and cow milk products being the most damaging. Once again, this is due to the fact that these two food groups have both the depressing substances (the food opioids- casomorphins and gliadorphins) and the neurostimulants (the “excitotoxins”- glutamate and aspartate). On top of that, they block the absorption of essential nutrients in the small intestine creating a cascade of negative effects. The combination of malnourished neurons, food opioids, excitotoxins, and inflammatory glycoproteins from the “big 4 “ foods (gluten, dairy, soy and corn) can be catastrophic to our neurological well being, especially when we toss in environmental pollutants/free radicals/carcinogens.
Who would be more susceptible to these negative effects than the developing child? Remembering that we are on a spectrum of susceptibility to the effects of these foods, it is easy to see that the worst of the worst will suffer the most serious and most uncommon consequences. If there is a place for “genetics” in the grand scheme of things, this is where it goes. As I have written before, I look at genetics as the roadmap of where you are headed once you leave the main highway of good health. As long as you are doing everything right, that map remains in your glove box. But once you take a left hand turn off the interstate of wellness and your immune system starts to falter, then that genetic roadmap is likely to tell you where you are headed in the way of conditions and diseases, especially when we grasp the truth about “genetics”. The fun fact of all fun facts that I have found in over ten years of research is this: Nearly 40% of our DNA is viral information- some active and some extinct, but plenty of encoded viruses present that can lead to serious “genetic diseases”, such as cancer, epilepsy, and other neurological disorders that “run in families”, most of which have known or suspected viral etiologies. And without going into gross detail here, I can safely say from my years of celiac research that viruses hate gluten.
This concept was illustrated so well when I started following leads in the study of stuttering. My intuitive brother put me on this trail. He was reading my work on the dietary control of epilepsy (with 25 viruses known to cause seizures) and asked if I thought stuttering might be similar. He then proceeded to tell me why he thought so. He was absolutely right, I believe. I accessed one of my celiac searches, put in “stuttering” and the evidence hit me right between the eyes. But again, I found mixed responses to gluten elimination alone just as one would expect from reading my work on epilepsy. In some individuals, the elimination of gluten grains was adequate to completely halt the stuttering, just as the removal of wheat from the diet of some dogs arrested their seizures. But in the worst cases, the removal of all sources of the offending proteins (gluten, dairy soy and corn) was required, partly because all four can do the intestinal harm that drives the malabsorption/maldigestion/malnutrition seen in food intolerants and partly because these foods do direct neuronal harm. Researchers now tell us that the brain is the organ most often damaged by gluten other than the GI tract.
So, I “theorize” that there is a parallel between stuttering and other developmental problems in the neurologic system such as SIDS and learning disabilities. I believe the link is a combination of the depressing protein complexes (casomorphins and gliadorphins) and the malabsorption of essential nutrients by the damaged duodenum/small intestine which leads to the poor development of these brain centers. Of course, the intestinal damage is being done by the same foods that are providing the neurologically active proteins. The depression associated with these proteins was simply meant to be the warning sign to lay off these foods. But once the vitamins and minerals that are essential for proper brain development are depleted, the cascade of problems begin and the depression caused by the casomorphins and gliadorphins becomes quite profound (as in the case of autism).
As in the case of epilepsy, once the neurons of the brain become chronically depressed, they then upload (become more sensitive) in an attempt to overcome the depression, just as they do in the case of narcotic addiction. The brain gets accustomed to the effects of the narcotics and makes an adjustment, which then becomes a way of life for these neurons. When the narcotic is withdrawn, the brain calls out for more narcotics to keep the situation in balance. While uploaded, the neurons tend to overreact to the neurostimulants (glutamate and asparate) in the same foods. So, the person who stutters may be in an interesting physiological dilemma. They have a depressed, poorly developed speech center that overreacts to the stimulants in the same foods that have been causing the original damage. So when the glutamate and aspartate- the “excitotoxins”- hit that individual’s unhealthy brain, the over-stimulation of the impaired neurons of the speech center produces a repetitive action that manifests as stuttering. Their depressed brain will not let intended the words out despite the fact (and even because of the fact) that the neurostimulants are beating at the door. By removing the sources of the depressants and the stimulants, the situation resolves. Also by doing so, the proper absorption of essential supportive nutrients for the brain can occur again. The whole process is thereby reversed, just as it is documented in the celiac literature.
In the afflicted, there are very specific areas of the brain that can be affected, such as the respiratory center (as in SIDS) or the speech centers (as in stuttering) or in centers of cognition (as in specific learning disabilities). Why one condition develops rather than another is a great question. The way I see it, there are three possible explanations for this: “genetics” (which virus is in their DNA?), multi-factorial mechanisms, and “the other explanation”. What is “the other explanation”? It is the one we really have no clue about, similar to the answer to “Why does MS usually strike one side of the body or the other but not both sides simultaneously?”
Trigeminal neuropathy, Bells palsy (facial nerve), optic neuritis, peripheral neuropathies of the limbs, and other manifestations of MS usually occur on one side at a time (usually the left, which is really interesting). If it is an internal, autoimmune problem (like it is) then why aren’t the nerves on both sides attacked at the same time? There is really no logical medical explanation for this. Hmmm… I simply call it grace. If the attack occurred on both sides at the same time, the body’s function would be greatly reduced, especially in the case of the blindness caused by optic neuritis. Therefore, we have been spared for some “unknown reason” by having it occur only unilaterally. So, on the issue of why a person suffers from one neurological manifestation versus another, we may discover that genetics do play a big role as a determinant or we may not. It may just be “the other explanation”.
I have strayed a bit from the topic at hand but it was warranted, I think. It was done to illustrate the fact that a multitude of neurological disorders can arise from a common origin. Celiacs are renowned for having one or more of the above conditions. Stuttering has been halted in some celiacs by eliminating gluten. So have many of the other conditions. But, the reader must always remember that gluten is only one of the “big four” food components involved in these disorders. Remember, too, that wheat is only the number two allergen in man and pets while cow milk is number one. Therefore, it would seem logical to eliminate all gluten, casein, and soy in the stuttering patient, as well as the obvious sources of glutamate and aspartate such as MSG and diet drinks. This approach is discussed in detail in The G.A.R.D. section. For the worst or most persistent cases, nutritional supplements such as vitamin D3, omega three fatty acids, B complex, C, and magnesium (very important) may speed or insure recovery.
Recovery from this condition has been known to be rapid and complete. Those who know about the far-reaching effects of food intolerance would certainly agree that a dietary trial is well-worth the effort.