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Vocal tics


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This is my first time posting, my son started nodding his head at school around the age of five.  This turned into eye rolls, sniffing, facial movements, lip pursing, puffing of cheeks amongst other things.

Around the age of seven he started with small noises which overtime have gotten worse until last year aged eleven they exploded into very loud noises,  
He is now twelve and the head nods are rare, nowhere near as bad as they were, the facial tics come and go but the main thing now is the constant and loud noises.  They do change overtime but cannot pinpoint what causes this.

He already has Epsom salt baths every other night, high levels of vitamin c with magnesium, haliborange omega 3, Pro ven probiotics and well kid calcium liquid.

I watch his diet and limit sugar, preservatives, colours and artificial flavourings.  We have gone gluten free, tried homeopathy and hypnosis but noting has helped.

Does anybody have any suggestions, has anybodys child grown out of this and if so around what age should we see improvement? 
would appreciate any help

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Welcome to the forum JulesLou

As tics can be the result of variable factors, I can only speak from experience regarding Tourette Syndrome tics.

The only supplement that helped with loud vocal tics for my TS son was daily 500mg l-Carnitine, used short term until the loud vocals had settled.

As your son is now at the age of puberty, IF he has TS then an increase in some tics may be related to the hormonal changes, specifically increases in dopamine in pubertal boys.

It is possible that your child has these tics for a different reason than TS

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Thank you, for years I have been studying every body else’s stories which are obviously all different and a lot seem to be in America where I am in the UK.  The Dr has been of no help at all and it seems unless it is affecting his mental health and suicidal there is no help for us.

which l carnitine did you use and how long did it take to see improvement? I really do feel so helpless that he has to live with this and I have not found anything that will help him.

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That is hard when you can't find a good physician to guide you. We found Integrative doctors to be most helpful due to their training in both conventional as well as natural healthcare.

We used NOW Foods l-Carnitine as at the time (over 20 years ago!) it was the only one we could find easily. I think there are a number of brands around, but always just try to have minimal "other ingredients" where possible.

We saw a positive effect after just a few days of adding it to his supplement regimin. At the time we were also carefully keeping a journal to try to learn about potential tic triggers for him, so that we could minimize them as much as possible or eliminate where possible. We saw encouraging improvements but those very loud vocals were persistent till we added the l-Carnitine on his physician's suggestion.

My son had what was termed Tourettic OCD, where tics morphed into OCD stuff and vice versa. So the vocals had a persistence that was interrupting school & social activities

Do take a look at the main ACN Latitudes website here as well as there is a lot of excellent info, plus helpful resources. Latitudes.org


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5 hours ago, Chemar said:

 @Conanjaguar have you had tics wax after eating lectins specifically? Raw? Cooked?

I must say that is not a tic trigger we ever identified, especially as my son loves pasta and freshly made marinara sauce with no tic increase ever noted, and also enjoys lentils, black beans etc, also high in lectins?

After tomatoes; cooked or raw. I haven’t had raw beans, but cooked beans don’t really seem to affect me.

Each case is different and unique.

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Oh absolutely that's one of the recognized things here regarding individuals having often different reactions +ve or -ve

I was more curious as an addendum to the documented tic triggers on these forums over the years, so thanks for mentioning something you have noticed.

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23 hours ago, Conanjaguar said:


Lectins in food might be a cause, for instance if your son eats a lot of tomato products or similar foods. There are supplements that partially or completely block them, or just remove them from his diet.

Funny you should say that as I have wondered about tomatoes! Yesterday I made pizzas but used a small amount of bbq sauce and chicken (he usually has tomato paste and pepperoni).

We have homemade pizza one a week and spaghetti bolognese.

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On 2/21/2023 at 10:09 AM, Chemar said:

I know there have been a number of reports here over the years of  salicylate sensitivity and tomatoes are very high in salicylates, so perhaps that may be the trigger for tomatoes @Conanjaguar unless plants high in lectins specifically seem to trigger tics for you?

Interesting discussion :)

Salicylates! That’s the word I was looking for.

Strangely enough, tomatoes and beans are the only ones with any effects that I’ve noticed.

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  • 1 month later...

@Chemarhi I wondered if you had trouble getting to sleep when the tics were bad?  My son’s vocal tics are loud and constant at the moment and it is taking him around one and half hours to get to sleep at night. We are doing Epsom baths and relaxing before bed, have you any advice please?

After speaking to you a couple of months ago I started my son on l carnitine and that helped for a few weeks, the vocals didn’t go but calmed down but now vocals have flared up again.  Although due to it being Easter my son has had a little bit of chocolate each day for about a week and so am guessing this hasn’t helped. Have now stopped the chocolate 😬

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@JulesLou yes, tics can interrupt sleep patterns, which is hard.

In addition to the L-Carnitine for vocals, we found a few drops of pure lavender 100% essential oil (NOW is a decent and not too pricey example) in the Epsom Bath relaxing before bed. My son also benefited from a cup of chamomile tea with a teaspoon of raw organic honey as a relaxing natural calming sleep aid.

Natural Calm ionic Magnesium powder is another beneficial natural sleep aid - especially for the tic reduction the magnesium brings- but the mag citrate does loosen tummy some so something to be aware of.

Diffusing pure jasmine essential oil also calms anxiety and helps sleep - it is strong so a few drops goes a long way!

Those are a few of the things we found helpful for my son, especially when the vocal tic was a major sleep disrupter

I have also heard of some success with weighted blankets aiding sleep

Hope you find something that helps or that the vocals subside

ps yes, chocolate that is not at least 72% dark has always triggered my son's tics. Also limiting dairy may help (my son switched to all goat milk, cheese etc and found benefits

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@ChemarThank you, I have started to add a lavender oil to his bath but just a cheap one, may have to look into a better essential oil.  My son also has vitamin c supplements, ascorbyl palmitate and magnesium ascorbate (suggested by a homeopath years ago). Will look into what you have suggested too.

A few weeks ago I have taken my son off milk and cheese as wondered if this is a trigger.  

A while ago I posted on here as my son had been swimming and the vocals got bad after that for about 2-3 weeks before they calmed again.  I think the chocolate has again set them off so hopefully with a stricter diet again they will calm again.  When your sons tics we’re triggered how long were they bad before you saw an improvement? 

Thank you again for your help, it is so hard to find the solutions and hard for our children to deal with 😊


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