Friday, September 11, 2015

Amino acid supplementation seems to have worked for one reader

I get many emails from readers telling me about significant changes in fluency. One of them is John and he agreed to share his story with us. Read below about his search for an explanation to his sudden fluency. He would be happy to discuss via email: 

Like a lot of people who stutter, as I am told, I frequently experience issues with low mood. On about my 15th effort to find a solution for this, I started supplementing with various amino acids to target various neurotransmitters, specifically the ones known to cause mood issues (e.g. serotonin, beta endorphins, dopamine, etc.). Quite unexpectedly, after using these supplements, I noticed a marked drop in stuttering, on the order of about 90% most days (some days 100%). I found myself being able to have conversations with people where I was talking a solid 20-30 minutes without a single stutter. Even the people around me remark that "it" is just "gone". I have stuttered for over 30 years, and this had never happened, especially for this long (I have sustained these effects for about 15 months now). I have tried on my own, as a hacky citizen-scientist, to try and piece together what I have observed. What I *think* is happening is some sort of synergistic process between boosting both dopamine and beta-endorphin. Ironically, this sort of flies in the face with what I understand about he current pharmaceutical approaches to stuttering treatment, that is, trying to cut down on available dopamine. What is amazing about amino acid supplementation is that, at least for me, there are zero side-effects. My mood is a ton better and my speech is a ton better. Of course, it could just be that, that my speech is better because I feel better, but I do see a definite increase in stuttering when I stop taking the aminos, even before I notice a drop in mood. What I would love to be able to do is be able to study this further. I would love to be able to work to understand what I have found, if I am just an anomaly, or if this sort of therapy holds promise for others as well.


Tim said...

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. If you're eating sufficient protein to keep your body happy, you're getting plenty of amino acids in your diet. As far as supplements go, laboratory analysis of supplements on the market show widely varying dosages, when the product includes any of the intended ingredient at all.

There is no experiment here, and no test of the efficacy of any particular amino acid for modulating the effects of stuttering. What there is is an endless list of claims exactly like this one, going back decades. So the answer is, yes, this is an anomaly.

Anonymous said...

Die you use tyrosine to increase dopamin and beta endorphine?

Unknown said...

We would all profit if he would tell us which supplements he uses. I've been taking B1 vitamin for over a year now with noticeable decrease in stuttering.

Anonymous said...

John, if you are reading this, please let us know what type of amino acid supplements you are taking. Appreciate it.

Pascal said...

A real shame the name of the amino acid is not specified. Tweaking neurotransmitters does seem too risky for self medication. (Then again, drinking coffee will also tweak neurotransmitter levels).

As far as increasing dopamine levels is concerned, I have been prescribed the methylphenidate drug for several years. An increase in tics is a possible side effect for this kind of drug (though I didn't experience any and stuttering was unaffected). This seems consistent with the pharmaceutical industry's aim to not increase dopamine levels in a possible stuttering medication.

Anonymous said...

Tom, What are your thoughts on this method?. Just curious if you think it has some validity from a scientific point of view.

Anonymous said...

Well I've been taking a multi-amino supplement for a different reason (I read somewhere it aids tendon repair) and I've not noticed any difference in my stuttering.

I've taken Vitamin B1 and Senna before and not noticed any difference as well, so without specific details regarding doses etc. I'm a little skeptical about these sorts of claims.

Sam N said...

so if one wanted to try this out ( me ) what would i need to buy?

Unknown said...

I'm assuming this person began supplementing with amino acids for strength training purposes to increase protein synthesis. In the strength training community amino's are often used typically if someone is practicing intermittent fasting or some other form of caloric restricted diet for body composition purposes.

I don't see any harm in supplementing with amino acids just out of curiosity to determine if it does have any effect on speech. I'm skeptical, but realistically the worst thing that could happen is that it doesn't work and you've gained a few pounds of lean muscle mass if you happen to be resistance training during this period. Most health food stores would have amino's sold in powered or capsule form so it shouldn't be too hard to purchases it. Dosage requirements are also usually stated on the package.

Anonymous said...

Hey Tom, thanks for posting this up...been reading your blog for more than a year now without participating. I had to comment as I never figured it out until i read this. I'm taking GABA for one of my gym stacks... and I must say my fluency was increased quite a fair bit UNTIL I stopped it about a week ago as part of my stack cycle. Initially I assumed it was part of my new healthy lifestyle but after a week of not taking some of my supplements, the stuttering returned with a vengeance. I did not give it much thought as, after being a stutter for more than 2 decades, I do have my stuttering days but I use words replacement, now my vocab is really extensive, it's only a problem for me sometimes when i need to be specific. I will give GABA another shot. Would be great to have an open discussion with the author instead of having to email him but this is a blog and not a forum soooo....

Anonymous said...

I can recommend Iron and trace minerals as giving best results. Also Niacin helps me.
B1, B6, B12 and omega 3 also help, but not as much (some can test extremely high dosages of B1, which its side effect is loosening the muscles. Hasn't worked for me).
On the other hand B5 and some other supplements mentioned against parkinson are disastrous for me.
GABA gives the same result as calming pills (preferably natural ones), and help calm the body.
BTW, I've been testing supplements for over 5 years.

Anonymous said...

i've heard putting pebbles in your mouth helps too... can i get an eyeroll please?

Sam N said...

for those of you who were to lazy to e-mail, he used L-tyrosine and DLPA (D-L-phenylalanine)

1500mg DLPA AND 2000mg L-tyrosine. He took 750mg DLPA AND 1000mg L-tyrosine in the morning and then once again at lunch. ( DO NOT EXCEED 1500mg of DLPA very dangerous)

Easy to get in the USA, As im in Toronto really hard to get in canada. If you are in toronto and want to try, contact me as i dont need them anymore.

i tried 3 times, didnt really work for me. Felt like i was on something slightly but you barely feel it. He said he also does meditating, something i was never able to do... all details below.


Thanks for reaching out, it is my pleasure to try and help you. Please bear in mind, though, this is only what has worked for me. Everyone is an individual, and I am not even REMOTELY a doctor, not even on the Internet. Please educate yourself (or talk to your doctor, or both) and if you do try any of this, read about it first so you know what problems you are trying to fix. Mucking about with brain chemistry, ESPECIALLY if you are on ANY kind of anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, etc., is SERIOUS business.

OK, here's the issues I have found that doing something about have given me a lot of relief. Basically, my issue seems to be an imbalance in my brain of not enough Dopamine, specifically, not enough dopamine receptors, as well as difficulty processing other neurotransmitters as well (specifically, serotonin, and noradrenaline/norepinephrine). I have found that by using amino acid (sub-components of protein) supplements, I can support my brain chemistry, which causes about an 80%-90% reduction in stuttering.

What specifically seems to work really well for me is a combination of the amino acids DLPA and L-Tyrosine. For me, that is 750 mg of DLPA and 1000 mg (1 gram) of L-Tyrosine with breakfast and lunch (so, 1500mg of DLPA and 2000mg of L-Tyrosine per day). My intuition here is that L-Tyrosine is doing the heavy lifting (boosting noradrenaline and dopamine) and the DLPA helps with dopamine, norepinephrine, and endorphin boosting, creating more alert calm and resilience, allowing one to be less rattled and on-edge, but still awake and non-drowsy.

Meditation has been hugely helpful for me as well, as has been exercise and just getting outside every day, ideally early in the day. I think it gets at similar mechanisms (specifically endorphins), plus it just seems to create a bit of a ground state for the day, giving a calm I can seem to go back to pretty easily.

You can learn more about this type of therapy by reading the book "The Mood Cure" by Julia Ross (highly recommended).

Thanks for your note and if you do try any of this, please let me know if this approach works for you, I am very curious. Also, I would be curious if anything else happens to work for you, or if you notice some things making stuttering much worse (caffeine is a big one for me). Take care.

Anonymous said...

Hi - Thanks for the info. If I were to try this regiment and if it were to benefit me in reduction of stuttering, then how long would it be before I should notice improvement.

Sam N said...

it should be 30min to 1hr u should notice some improvment and a very light subtle feeling that ur on something, John said it was 80-90% fluency for him .. for me it was like 5% the first time only, 2nd and 3rd tries felt like i swallowed empty pills. contact me @ for more info.

Unknown said...

Aminoacids? Honestly, people?

There are two common, major, devastating, unbelievably strong, nefarious, total disaster caveats that need to be pointed out here: the placebo effect and the detection bias.

I do love them when they show up together. :)

Cheers (from the extremely hot Brazilian summer!)

Sam N said...

??? detection bias? thats just me trying to see if this works or not. as i said IT DOESNT WORK for me. it worked for John apparently but im starting to wonder if i should believe him or not as he was trying to promote his friends book on meditation.

Anonymous said...

I received a nice mail from the author of this publication, and I tried what he suggested.
Unfortunately it did not work out for me although I felt a bit more fluency during the first 3-4 days.

Unknown said...

For me, only fluency shaping has worked. I will try the MPI program within a few weeks. No vitamins, no supplements, no medicines, unfortunately.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post.

I am a Dr. in Pharmacy and a woman who stutters. I find the relationship between depression and stuttering very relevant for some people who stutter, but not for others.

Some PWS have felt much better, and perceive that they stutter less, while being on antidepressants.

I wanted to point out, that Saint John's herb (Hypericum perforatum), has antidepressant actions. It acts by inhibiting neurotransmitter degradation (though inhibition of the enzyme monoaminooxydase MAO). By acting this way, it increases certain neurotransmitters in the brain, such as serotonin and dopamine.

Although an increase in dopamine transmission has been linked to stuttering, as a researcher on dopamine, I must say that dopamine transmission is very carefully balanced, and that dopamine is known to act in at least 5 different receptors, and that those receptors orchestrate dopamine action, rather than dopamine amount.

Thus, in people who tend to stutter more when having low moods...I would think that it should be able to improve fluency to a certain extent. As a personal experience, I have been taking Saint John's herb in certain periods, like in winter, where I was feeling anxious or slightly depressed, and I noticed that, apart from feeling better, I became more talkative and careless about my stuttering, meaning less afraid of situations where I would likely stutter.

I must say that Saint John's herb CAN NOT be taken while undergoing any other kind of pharmacological or nutritional therapy, as it can result in the so called serotoninergic syndrome, specially if combined with antidepressants. Also, treatment with antidepressants can not be changed into treatment with Saint John's herb without a tappering off of the antidepressant first, under the control of a doctor.

Not to forget, the half life of antidepressants can be quite long...meaning that even after 1 week of not taking them, residual amounts may still be found in the blood.

Thus, I believe saint John's herb could be of help for PWS who have shown improvements in speech in the past, while using antidepressants, or people who have never taken any antidepressants, but tend to stutter more while feeling in low moods.

Normally 600 mg of dried extract per day, taken in the morning, should be enough, to be on the safe side.

Saint John's herb can increase solar sensitivity, so it's wise not to be exposed to direct sunshine while it's shinning strongly.

This advice does not intend to substitute doctor's advice.

Any comment, please write me on

Unknown said...

How long did you taken GABA before you saw any fluency in your stuttering?

Anonymous said...

I am pasting a link to a site where success stories with supplements have been reported. I hope it helps.

Unknown said...

I read stuttering is believed to be due to a missing enzyme responsible for aiding in turning cell waste into energy. Lysosomol Storage Disease It is very interesting, because I did a 10 day fast and for the first time in my life didn't stutter. I would imagine the less food you consumed the less cell waste you would have? I eat once a day and it helps a lot. The closer it has been since I ate. The more I stutter.

Francisco Rode said...

Hi, first, i am sorry if my english is bad sometimes, i am from argentina, but i want to share something that directly correlates with the success of John. Before, i want to make it clear that i am not a doctor or a professional in health, this is my opinion today... I want to study my speech condition in the future, so what you are going to read is something that i found after the daily reading...
After reading this i started searching about the relationship between amino acids and stuttering, and i've found it:
This is relatively new, 02 of march of this year...
It fits with the success of John, because l-tyrosine is one of the most deficient amino acids in the study.
If l-tyrosine doesn't work for you, try another from the study (for example, threonine or isoleucine, obiosusly together with tyrosine).
I will give it a try tomorrow and if i see and improvement, i am going to post something here.
To conclude, i want you to read this too, and see if you want to give it a try:
In this study, is said that creatine deficiency cause speech problems:
"X-linked creatine deficiency is an inherited disorder that primarily affects the brain. People with this disorder have intellectual disability, which can range from mild to severe, and delayed speech development."

Sam N said...

Thanks for the info Fancisco !

This is a 5 year old post though. during these years ive concluded that stuttering is psychological. The use of any medications or amino acids in this posts wont help. im not focused on " how " it came to be this way. im focused on " where " i can be improve. ive self tought my self to completely lose my personality and adopt a new one which was extremely difficult and also led to an identity crisis. Even if i was fluent it wasnt worth it. My current path is a busy one. now with masks its harder to speak because i have to speak louder, and that was always difficult. through meditation im trying to reprogram my mind in Theta which is right before Delta ( sleep ) I have not reached that stage yet, its very difficult. will update if i make any progress !

Anonymous said...

Hello, have you already tested the supplementation?