|The thiamine molecule|
NB: For an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) on the use of thiamine (vitamin B1) and magnesium for stuttering, click HERE. And if thiamine, with or without magnesium, has helped your fluency, please provide feedback by reading THIS POST and then adding your feedback as a comment below that post.
Update March 2015: For the latest information on the thiamine approach to stuttering, read the FREE 92-page online e-book titled "The Thiamin Protocol" which can be downloaded as a PDF HERE.
Up to 30% of adult stutterers may benefit from a daily intake of 300 mg of thiamine (vitamin B1), according to a recent study. But why has thiamine this effect? Is it simply because thiamine reduces stress?
The answer may be more complex, speculates stuttering expert Dr. Martin F. Schwartz, and may involve the basal ganglia in the brain.
"Recent research points to the basal ganglia as the site of the stress-induced breakdown of the sequencing required for speech production," explains Dr Schwartz.
"Stress can come from many sources and is not limited to psychological stress. When this happens in young children, there is a sudden immobilization of the vocal cords. This starts the cascade of learned behaviors we call stuttering to begin.
"Some research points to an excess of dopamine (a neurotransmitter) in the basal ganglia of people who stutter. Some pharmacological approaches have tried to approach stuttering by reducing dopamine. Dopamine is an antagonist to another neurotransmitter, acetylcholine. The two neurotransmitters engage in a continuous balancing act.
"It may be that there is not an excess of dopamine but, instead, an insufficiency of acetylcholine. Vitamin B1 (thiamine) is required for the production of acetylcholine. By giving an excess of B1 you can, at least theoretically, enhance the production of acetylcholine and thus redress the presumed imbalance. This is why B1 may work. B1 may make the basal ganglia work better so it can deal with the complex balancing act called speech production," says Dr Schwartz. "This, of course, is just speculation."
Another possibility is that GABA, another neurotransmitter, is the culprit and that an insufficiency of GABA causes the vocal cords to malfunction when overstressed. For more information on this, read Dr Schwartz's free online e-book, The Thiamin Protocol, which can be downloaded HERE.