Today we examine the widely held belief that mucus will “gunk up” vocal cords -says Speech Language Pathologist Kristie Reece Knickerbocker
Recent publications have demonstrated that dairy products do nothing to chemically increase mucus production or viscosity, but why does the myth remain?
A group of investigators from New York examined 21 individuals, half with asthma and half without, to see if milk increased mucus. It suggested that airway resistance was not altered by milk consumption – so, no thicker mucus here.
Perhaps if there is a milk allergy, the body will have a reaction to it? That might explain the widely-held belief that mucus will “gunk up vocal cords” and should be avoided.
Unfortunately, I could not find any research studies about mucus thickening after eating or drinking dairy. Another study states that some people with asthma may see an improvement after eliminating dairy from their diets, however, it does not definitively prove that mucus production increases because of dairy products.
Bottom Line: You can throw science at your patients, but they may remain convinced that milk will gunk things up. You might be fighting a losing battle, but hey, at least calcium comes from other sources.
This is the fourth in a series of articles by Kristie Knickerbocker.
Previous article: What’s the Impact of Whispering on Vocal Rest?
Next article: Which Foods Will Improve Your Singing Performance?
Kristie Knickerbocker, MS, CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist and singing voice specialist in Fort Worth, Texas. She provides voice, swallowing and speech therapy in her own private practice, a tempo Voice Center, LLC. She also lectures on the singing voice to area choirs and students. She belongs to ASHA’s Special Interest Group 3-Voice and Voice Disorders. She keeps a blog on her website at www.atempovoicecenter.com
This article is adapted from Kristie’s blog which first appeared on The American Speech Language Hearing Association site www.Asha.org