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Symptom Triggers: Part 3 Language and Speech Development

Updated: Oct 23, 2021

This is one of the symptoms that parents most often are keen to address. In terms of physiological function, it is also a highly complex function, requiring the coherent interplay of many aspects of cognitive, sensory, memory, auditory, attention and motor function. Treatment does not always need to be so complex as the function it is aimed at, and in some cases quite straightforward baseline interventions that improve cellular communication and function can bring improvements in receptive, spontaneous and expressive language.

Language gains and increased communication ability are life-changing for children and adults who have previously been non-verbal or language delayed, and for those around them.


  • Mitochondrial function, and the factors that affect it, nutrient deficiency, heavy metal toxicity, glyphosate toxicity, neuroinflammation which may be autoimmune induced or reflecting dysbiosis or other inflammation drivers in the body, yeast overgrowth - many aspects of speech delay can be traced back to mito dysfunction

  • Key brain chemicals for speech development and production require a healthy microbiome, healthy methylation cycles and mitochondrial function that is not disrupted by toxic load, neuroinflammation, nutrient deficiency and the cell danger response.

Other more specific factors:

  • Acetylcholine chloride

  • Oxytocin

  • Norephinephrine/Locus coeruleus dysfunction - the LC is the principle site for the brain synthesis of norepinephrine - Norepinephrine has been found to enhance areas critical for auditory learning in animal models. This is an interesting area of research that I will be writing about in more focus in a future piece.

  • Methylation support : DMG, TMG, SamE. Methionine, 5MTHF, methionine, Choline, B12

  • Serotonin - crucial for speech and language

  • Choline metabolism, deficiency or dysfunction, maternal choline consumption and levels

  • Cerebral folate deficiency, maternal folate deficiency during pregnancy

  • Allergens

  • Gluten/Dairy Sensitivity (can impact mitochondrial function - dietary elimination can improve enzyme availability and reduce inflammation)

  • Key nutrient deficiency:

- Omega 3 and EFA deficiency (needed to help mitochondria

produce ATP


- Folinic Acid/Folate/5MTF deficiency - genetic/metabolic


- B12 deficiency

- B6

- B1

- L-Carnitine

- CoQ10

- Creatine

- Magnesium

- Methionine

- Iron

- Butyrate

- Sulphur Rich compounds - Sulforaphane has shown potential

gains for language development

  • Research recently showed signs that the atypical cannabinoid palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) improved speech in a report of cases of ASD.

  • Tetrahydrobiopterin (THB) has been shown to be reduced in the cerebrospinal fluid of children with ASD. In the course of a study, THB was given and improvements in number of words and speech quality were seen. THB in an important for the synthesis of certain key neurotransmitters and nitric oxide.

  • Clostridia overgrowth - rat models show decreased communication with increase of clostridia

  • Sleep apnea

  • Seizures

  • Tongue tie

  • Retained primitive reflexes

  • Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

  • Serotonin and other neurotransmitter imbalance - Serotonin is both essential for language but can also ignite neuroexcitotoxicity which compromises brain function. This can also be linked to methylation dysfunction which will help to regulate serotonin levels in the brain

  • Endocannabinoid system dysregulation, linked to the use of acetaminophen use in childhood at the time of vaccines

Other speech patterns in ASD: Echolalia, Scripting

  • Poorly understood, but treatments that address glutamate overload and imbalance are found to be helpful

  • Glutathione support - B12 and NAC - B12

  • B6 - may need to be selective about form and dosage

  • Magnesium

This is not meant as a definitive list, but simply as a report on various points of research and the clinical experience of many practitioners as to what has benefitted language development. I will continue to update.

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