Posted by: Indonesian Children | October 31, 2010

Food Allergy and Stuttering

Food Allergy and Stuttering

Cause of Stuttering is generally unknown. But few researchers have claimed about the connection between food allergies and stuttering.


Stuttering (alalia syllabaris), also known as stammering (alalia literalis or anarthria literalis), is a speech disorder in which the flow of speech is disrupted by involuntary repetitions and prolongations of sounds, syllables, words or phrases, and involuntary silent pauses or blocks in which the stutterer is unable to produce sounds.The term stuttering is most commonly associated with involuntary sound repetition, but it also encompasses the abnormal hesitation or pausing before speech, referred to by stutterers as blocks, and the prolongation of certain sounds, usually vowels and semivowels. The term “stuttering”, as popularly used, covers a wide spectrum of severity: it may encompass individuals with barely perceptible impediments, for whom the disorder is largely cosmetic, as well as others with extremely severe symptoms, for whom the problem can effectively prevent most oral communication. The impact of stuttering on a person’s functioning and emotional state can be severe. Much of this goes unnoticed by the listener, and may include fears of having to enunciate specific vowels or consonants, fears of being caught stuttering in social situations, self-imposed isolation, anxiety, stress, shame, or a feeling of “loss of control” during speech. Stuttering is sometimes popularly associated with anxiety but there is actually no such correlation (though as mentioned social anxiety may actually develop in individuals as a result of their stuttering). Despite popular perceptions to the contrary, stuttering does not affect and has no bearing on intelligence.Stuttering is generally not a problem with the physical production of speech sounds or putting thoughts into words. Apart from their speech impediment, people who stutter may well be ‘normal’ in the clinical sense of the term. Anxiety, low self-esteem, nervousness, and stress therefore do not cause stuttering per se, although they are very often the result of living with a highly stigmatized disability and, in turn, exacerbate the problem in the manner of a positive feedback system.The disorder is also variable, which means that in certain situations, such as talking on the telephone, the stuttering might be more severe or less, depending on the anxiety level connected with that activity. Although the exact etiology of stuttering is unknown, both genetics and neurophysiology are thought to contribute.

Allergy and Stuttering
A particular food allergy can activate our Sympathetic Nervous System instead of the Para-sympathetic Nervous System. Thus, our levels of anxiousness increases. This condition stimulates stuttering.Sympathetic Nervous System is a type of nervous system present in our body, which operates on its own. It becomes more active when our body is under stress. It follows the mechanism of ‘Fight-or-Flight’. Para-sympathetic Nervous System also performs on it own. It follows the mechanism of ‘Rest and Digest’ and hence opposite in action to Sympathetic Nervous System.

Till now no scientific evidence is available. So most stutterers are unaware of this. But certain instances are convincing where stutterers have felt improvement by avoiding certain food items. These instances increase our intesrest in finding details on how certain food can worsen the stuttering conditions in a stutterer. So we advise all stutterers to consult a gastroenterologist to ensure if any food allergic reaction is making you stutter more. All stutterers may not be suffering from food allergic-stuttering but few may experience.Most common food allergen which can cause stuttering is found to be ‘Gluten’. Gluten is found in wheat, so present in most bakery items like – bread. When a stutterer is allergic to gluten, can experience high level of stuttering. The stutterer may not be able to complete even a sentence. His stuttering condition can get normal once he stops consuming products having gluten.

Foods rich in Dopamine can also cause extreme stuttering in stutterers. Dopamine is present in caffeine. Some may also be allergic to peanut butter or sugar. The allergic products are needed to be identified properly and should not be included in the diet. Extreme stuttering caused due to food allergy can be checked only by avoiding the foods in your diet that cause allergy. There are many treatments and speech therapy techniques available that may help increase fluency in some stutterers to the point where an untrained ear can not identify a problem; however, there is essentially no “cure” for the disorder at present.

Reference :

  • Robert E. Card. A Study of Allergy in Relation to Stuttering.Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders Vol.4 223-230 September 1989.
  • Howell P. Behavioral effects arising from the neural substrates for atypical planning and execution of word production in stuttering. Exp Neurol. 2010 Sep;225(1):55-9. Epub 2010 Jun 23.
  • Horga G, Horga A, Baeza I, Castro-Fornieles J, Lázaro L, Pons A. Genetics & Medicine⁠ Drug-induced speech dysfluency and myoclonus preceding generalized tonic-clonic seizures in an adolescents. J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol. 2010 Jun;20(3):233-4. ⁠
  • Büchel C, Watkins KE. Genetic susceptibility to. Genetic susceptibility to persistent stuttering. M N Engl J Med. 2010 Jun 10;362(23):2226;
  • Leahy MM, Walsh IP. 27. Paying attention to therapy discourse: identifying therapy processes and practice in talk about talk. Semin Speech Lang. 2010 May;31(2):98-110. Epub 2010 Jun 2.
  • Howell P, Bailey E, Kothari N.Clin Linguist Phon. 2010 Jun;24(7):556-75.Changes in the pattern of stuttering over development for children who recover or persist.⁠



Supported  by

Widodo judarwanto, pediatrician
Children’s Allergy Center Online
Picky Eaters Clinic, Klinik Kesulitan makan Pada Anak
Office : JL Taman Bendungan Asahan 5  Jakarta Pusat  Phone : (021) 70081995 – 5703646email :,  
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a medical or health condition. You should carefully read all product packaging. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider.        
Copyright © 2010, Children Allergy Center  Information Education Network. All rights reserved

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