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GABA and vocal tics


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Anybody used or have any thought on using GABA ?

My son is nearly 13 and has constant lip smacking noises at the moment and I mean constant, every second and loud.  We have had one kinesiology session and amongst other supplements she has suggested GABA?   Any comments would be appreciated thank you.

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Hi JulesLou, Quite a few people on the forum have discussed GABA.  I did a search, please see here https://latitudes.org/forums/search/?q=gaba&quick=1

Let me know if this is a help for you. I'm so sorry to read about your son's ongoing lip smacking. 

I'm glad you have connected with a practitioner.

To date, has anything seemed to help your boy?   I don't recall if we ever discussed avoiding all allergens and scented products, etc.  Please remind me what approaches you have tried in addition to supplement, if you like and if you have time. 


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Sheila thank you for your reply and the link, I have spent hours on this forum looking for advice and trying different things.  Nothing ever seems to work and still non the wiser on what triggers the tics even though have been going through this for seven years.

Yes I try to avoid scented products we do not use air fresheners or scented candles etc.  My son doesn’t go swimming because of chlorine, he has a very strict diet, no colours, preservatives or additives, you name it , we have tried it.  He has Epsom salt baths every other night..

Drs in the uk are useless and say just find ways of coping with it!

I reached out to Dr Piper Gibson who runs very costly programs for children with tics, in the US, her thoughts on GABA where, “she wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole”, not unless you have done genetic testing as it sometimes makes kids brains feel like they are on fire!

life is so hard with this, I just want to try and alleviate it, we can deal with it but not loud and constantly every second, the only time it stops is when he goes to sleep 😞 I am so exhausted! 

Thank you for taking the time to reply!


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Hi @JulesLou

GABA proved too strong a supp for my son after we had tried it a few times short term for anxiety, so agreed you should be cautious. Our physician had us start very low, and also said it is a supp one should always titrate up and down. I know some people have benefited from it though, so, as with most things, it again depends on the individual's unique system and the underlying issues causing the tics.

Some people reported mouth tics were helped by addressing transmandibular joint issues, and if you do a search, you will find those posts on this forum.

I will say that to this day, the number one tic trigger for my son is stress, which as we know can come in many forms. It seems those are also the times when his sensitivity to triggers is also heightened.

Hope you find answers


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@Chemarthank you for your response, I have quickly looked at  transmandibular joint issues,  is this just the jaw as my son does not have any problems with his jaw.

I am with you on stress and you do not always realise although having constant vocal tics is a big stress in itself so a bit of a viscous circle!

Thank you for your reply about the GABA too, I am very undecided about this although it did contain skull cap and Passion flower which I have read good things about!

So hard in finding some relief for my son and so unfair.


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@JulesLou if I recall there were assorted tics that some found helped with the specialized TMJ aligning mouthpieces but it was a while back. My son had developed a bruxism tic when younger, which thankfully waned after specific acupuncture & related therapy, and so I had noticed those posts with interest, but TMJ misalignment was not an issue for him.

So often for my son, we noticed the tics and the triggers being relational (eg flashing lights=eye blinking, dietary=vocal tics, sensory=motor) Those are just primary examples I had listed - but sometimes we still had general tic waxing and no clear trigger that we could discern - even though I have no doubt there were underlying triggers! But even then we did find calming and waning when we just followed protocols we knew were beneficial. When his tics were at their worst, he would always say he needed his trusted acupuncture therapist, who also had qualifications in other holistic treatments. Even though that was no magic cure, the benefits were remarkable. But this practitioner had experience with both Tourettes & Crohn's patients, and qualifications we trusted.

I will mention that with any supplement, I always try to go with something that isn't a combo when initially trying - eg if you were to try that GABA with skullcap and passiflora and  you got a negative effect - you would not know which one of those potent ingredients had the effect?

We got a lot of unanswered mysteries with my son solved with a good allergist too- he has Multiple Chemical Sensitivity and so his reactivity to most anything chemically artificially produced is very broad from what goes into him and what he comes in contact with via all his senses. It explained a lot of the triggers that appeared hidden before.

Like Sheila, I apologize for not remembering all you have already tried, but I do encourage you not to lose hope, and also to try (hard I know!) to avoid that stress. Even when the tic is persistent, I had to learn that I only intensified it when my son was aware how was stressing me more than it was him, if that makes sense.


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@Chemarit all makes complete sense, it is just trying to solve the mystery of what’s works.  It would be a whole lot easier if there was a Dr that would give guidance and tests.  We do not have spare money unfortunately to try lots of things, at the moment we are trying kinesiology, our second session is this week, everything is so expensive and then find that it doesn’t help anyway.

I really do appreciate your help and advice, I will never give up on my son, there must be triggers and things that will help it’s just finding them.

I do not stress around my son, we have a very good relationship and spend a lot of time together but unfortunately my husband is the opposite.

 My husband has a small  head shake which I believe is a tic, talks to himself often and has a few other quirky things so probably my son has inherited tics from him.  Although my husband doesn’t remember when his started and probably does not believe he has tics he just says it is a habit.  My husband gets quite irritated around my son sometimes and so my son and I spend a lot of time out and about away from my husband unfortunately.  I have spoken to my husband but he doesn’t realise how he acts towards my son, it’s not going to change so we just get on with it and my son accepts it.  

Thank you again for your help!

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JulesLou, I really sympathize with your situation -- it is so difficult when you can't find the help or resources you need. 


I don't usually make nutritional recommendations. But given your circumstances, when you are not going to get genetic testing (most people don't) related to GABA, I would suggest you follow Cheri's suggestion and start cautiously with a small dose of GABA and slowly increase. Your son is old enough to give good input on how it is affecting him.  It has clearly been linked to reducing tics in some people and tends to be fast acting. 

It is often used along with theanine and taurine.  I came across this supplement based on another Forum user's experience for PANDAS. She suggested RelaxMax (Xymogen) which can be purchased on the Xymogen website. It is based out of Orlando Florida and unfortunately it seems a practitioner is needed. This user wrote that it was a very helpful supplement in a powder form (GABA, Inositol, L Theanine, Taurine, Magnesium. 

Those nutrients would all make sense. Her daughter was prescribed half a capful per day at 10 years old.

I am going to include the ingredients that are included in a full capsule so that you could look for similar nutrients in the UK--either in a liquid form or powder. It doesn't have to be exact but this would be a starting place.  You could find something with GABA combined with some of the other nutrients. 


Magnesium (as di-magnesium malate)S1

75 mg  


2 g **


500 mg **

GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid)

100 mg **


50 mg




Also -- and I apologize for not reading through all your posts to see what you have done with foods as far as possible reactions -- please let us know if you have had a chance to remove certain foods from your son's diet. (What are his favorite foods? ) Please let me know. 


You might also want to consult an excellent homeopath. I know they are numerous in the UK and an individualized remedy might be helpful. 




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@Sheilathank you so much for all of the advice and information, I really do appreciate it.  My son went for his second kinesiology session this week and she has prescribed GABA and a couple of other supplements so will see how we go.

As for foods I have removed all additives,preservatives, colours and E numbers, my son only eats basic unprocessed food, ie meat with vegetables, rice and pasta.  We have also gone dairy free and mostly gluten free.  He also only drinks filtered water and he uses natural toothpaste and hair shampoo.  Try to limit scents and strong odours around the house too.

Thank you 


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