I’m sick of tongue ties – completely and totally sick of them. I have been in the lactation world for the last decade and have specialized in serving families dealing with tethered oral tissues. If I never saw another tongue tie again it would be too soon! However, it feels like I see more of tongue ties and with increasing severity. For more information on why tongue ties are a thing, how to help, and long and short term effects please consider this course : Advanced Evaluation of Lactation and Oral Function. So instead let’s focus on how to prevent them.
Most of my midwifery clients want to avoid pain during breastfeeding, or a baby that has lost weight at 3 months. They want to avoid the gassy, colic-y baby, or needing a lactation Councelor at all. So for the last few years, when I meet with my lactation clients for the last time after doing the months-long work of releasing and rehabilitating the tongue, I leave them with the following protocol. In an ideal world they start preconception with this protocol and continue it through the pregnancy.
Tongue tie has been strongly correlated with difficulty in the process of methylation which is a side effect of having a gene alteration of the MTHFR gene. When the body struggles with the process of methylation they are at increased risk of failure of cell death, this increases their risk of cancer. Failure of cell death (apoptosis) is exactly what a tongue tie is.
So the first step in prevention, is supplementation that supports methylation:
Folinic acid or methyl folate rather than folate or folic acid. They also need methylcolabalamine as opposed to colabalamine.
I recommend that my clients need a prenatal that includes these nutrients and may need an additional supplement if they have a history of tongue tie or difficulty with the process of methylation. They also need to take 500-1000mg of N-Acetyl-cysteine (NAC) per day. Generally speaking, people who struggle with methylation also struggle with the production of glutathione. Glutathione is one of our body’s natural anti-inflammatory proteins and taking NAC is the most cost effective way to increase glutathione levels. Other options to increase glutathione include taking liposomal glutathione, IV glutathione or glutathione anal suppositories.
Have you ever heard the phrase: “If you don’t use it you lose it?” That’s kind of what is happening in terms of our tongue functions. We eat a very soft diet compared to our ancestors and we no longer utilize our jaws nor our tongues the way we once did. For more on this you can read the book Jaws, the Story of the Hidden Epidemic. We also have a mirror neuron system so babies in utero are learning from mom. Whenever we are not eating or speaking, our tongues are supposed to be fully suctioned to the roof of our mouths. Your tongue being suctioned there actually puts you into rest and digest and decreases your stress- there is so much we can teach to new moms. Ask them to suction their tongues to the roof of their mouths whenever they are not eating or speaking and to really focus on using their tongue to move food to their molars when they’re chewing.
Of the moms who have been diligent about both aspects of this protocol we have seen babies who either have increased function of their tongue compared to their older siblings or do not have a tongue tie at all. The risks of implementing this prophylactic protocol is very low, though some people do experience nausea if they take their supplements without food.
How are you feeling about tongue tie? Do you feel like you see it more now? How will you implement this protocol with your clients? Are you already implementing it?
Feel free to send me questions in the comment section below or on social media or inside my course – this is a topic, I’m fascinated by and love to learn and teach and share on!