Saturday, February 23, 2008

Can Diet Changes to Increase Magnesium Help Tourette Syndrome Symptoms?

One of my sons had the beginnings of Tourette Syndrome when he was little - eye blinking, facial twitching, eye tics, etc. Our regular doctor didn't have any advice for us, so I researched my son's condition using the book library at the local health food store. The indications were that he was low in magnesium, so we changed his diet to get more magnesium rich foods and give him magnesium supplements for a few days crushed in yogurt. It worked great. The tics, twitches and eye blinking all stopped within a few days. We made the diet changes permanent, and for years I never gave the tics another thought. The only other time my son developed tics and twitches was when he was older and went on vacation with friends (without mom around to remind him to eat his vegetables!) and ate junk food for a few days, but the tics and twitches cleared up after he got home and ate healthier foods, including vegetables and nuts, for for a few days.

Then when my children were older they would come home from school and tell me about class mates with tics and twitches similar to the ones our one son experienced as a preschooler. That prompted me to put up a web page on my connective tissue disorder site about tics from magnesium deficiency a few years ago. The response to that one web page has been very positive. While one mom wrote that magnesium did not help her child, I think about 8 or so reported positive results, sometimes a complete recovery and often symptoms were alleviated within a few days. One parent emailed me that her child's vocal tics improved with increased magnesium. Many of these kids had been seeing a variety of medical specialists. Some were on prescription medications, yet no one was asking about their diets, which were often described by the parents as very low in healthy foods, especially nuts, beans and vegetables, and foods high in magnesium.

I find it odd that kids with tics, twitches and other signs related to Tourette Syndrome do not seem to be regularly checked for magnesium deficiency. A web page on magnesium in diet from the U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health's web site clearly notes that muscle twitching is a sign of magnesium deficiency. Yet based on my experience with my son and the experiences of parents who write to me, children with symptoms of tics and muscle twitching who are taken to the doctor are unfortunately not usually asked about their diets or checked for low magnesium levels.



10 comments:

Christopher Pinckley said...

Another thing to look at is fortifying the nervous system. In addition to the amazing benefits of Magnesium and the obvious benefits of B vitamins, is Flax Seed Oil. Flax seed oil can benefit people with nervous system disorders in two ways. First, it provides the building blocks of the myelin sheaths which are often stripped bare in people with highly active nervous systems, or people with nervous system disorders. The second benefit is with the digestive track and it's correlation to the nervous system. The digestive track is so sensitive that it can often times stimulate the nervous system by itself. If you have any raw spots on your digestive track, anywhere from the stomach to the large intestine, then your nervous system can become overstimulated and you can develop symptoms like tingling in the extremities or even heart palpitations. Flax seed oil can help to coat your digestive track and provide some relief to your overstimulated nervous system.

robert said...

I take flax seed oil for health benefits but didn't know of these benefits, thanks

Mom said...

Absolutely!!....Diet can have an amazing impact on Tourette Syndrome. My son's symptoms all vanished in 1 week after changing his diet and finding food sensitivities. The chemicals in our foods also effect brain function as well. Check out www.smallchanges.info for more info on things you can change around your home to improve the symptoms of TS.

I also give my son Mag/cal supplement which works great....though you want to make sure its a 2:1 ratio, for example 1000mg of calcium and 500mg magnesium, it does make a difference.

Tony said...

Magnesium and Calcium can be taken in a 1:1 ratio; however, too much Mag can have a laxative effect. Depending on what form your take will have an effect on absorption, as well as what other vitamins it is in combination with (Calcium hydroxyapetite/citrate, Mag citrate, Vit D, Vit K, Betaine HCl combination works well).

Eliminating refined sugars, including fructose, artificial sweeteners, trans fats, preservatives can't hurt and should be done regardless. Check labels carefully.

Jo said...

Mercury is another cause of tics.

madai said...

I have a little one who started having tics back in march of this year, and It has been really hard for me to take it in. His pediatrician doesnt tell me much, I told her that I am really worried because its just getting worse. She then reffered my boy to the Mental Health, Im so glad I found your article I am feeling some hope that theres other options. Thank you so much!

Sharon T said...

Hi all,
My son has had tics since he was 8 yrs old and he's now 13. I've tried various things to help but his tics have got steadily worse, especially the vocal tics, evrything from sniffing every few seconds to throat clearing and hissing noises. As you can imagine he has been getting very frustrated with this and embarrassed at school. I recently read about the benefits of magnesium and B-conplex vitamins so thought I would give them a try and the results have been amazing! He's only been taking them for a week and already the vocal tics have stopped and has just the ocassional eye twitch, I feel so relieved for him and he seems so much more relaxed. I just thought that I would share my experience with you and hope that it helps other parents.

ns said...

I think it is so true that Mg supplements reduce tics. It helped our son for sure. I cant believe why the so called experts still dont seem to have a clue..

Anonymous said...

Me too! I found that magnesium supplements given with calcium supplement work winders. Believe me I am like all others who cried in anguish over my sons tics. We also give a vitamin b12 and veggies and red meat and fish. Tiics only surface if he is away at camp for a week and didn't get vitamins it proper nutrition. They always appear the first three weeks if school strong....u suggest increasing dose and going to bed an hour early. My son is twelve and we have been in the right path for two years now but it took hours of research on the Internet to find the common man remedies. I hope this helps someone.

Irene Shalhoub said...

My son is 8.5 and about a week ago at baseball he starting blinking his eyes constantly and doing some unusual mouth movements. I thought nothing of it at first, thinking it was due to his allergies but when he started doing homework I noticed it again but much more pronounced. I counted 106 episodes in 1 hr. Needless to say, I am so upset. Can anyone give me some guidance? My son is very bright, high level reader too. He is very sensitive and is hyperactive. His teacher notcied it as well, but he said it doesn't hinder his class work. My son is aware of his tics and tells me he can sometimes control them and sometimes he can't. He said it makes him feel good if he does it. I just started him on Kids Calm Multi Vitamin today which gives him 60% of his daliy mg intake and he had cherrios for breakfast. I intend to making him a veg soup with spinach tonight as well. Please, any advice?