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Did eliminating certain foods reduce tics?


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Hi all,


This thread compiles comments from those who have done some formal testing or formal food elimination and reintroduction program. It doesn't matter what the testing method was, they vary. Some do elimination diets, some do blood tests, some muscle testing.


This is a living thread, with hopefully comments added over time. Note that this doesn't necessarily mean allergies, but sensitivities. They have IgG and lymphocyte tests for food sensitivities, and IgE tests for allergies. In the end, since the food stays in your system for a time and the reaction may not be immediate, the only way to know for sure if your child has a neurological reaction is to eliminate the food for a time and look for improvement. Then reintroduce it and look for reactions over a period of 3 days. The length of time to eliminate varies--your doctor will introduce. Both www.elisaact.com and www.immunolabs.com said to remove foods for 3 months to try to eliminate the allergy, then rotate in. In any case, food sensitivities and allergies are immune issues, so this certain fits the bigger picture of immune related contributions to tics.


1. What foods was your child sensitive to?

2. Did eliminating them reduce tics, and if so how much (no difference, minimal, significant, major)?

3. Did you notice other changes from elimination of foods, e.g. behavior.

4. How long did it take to notice a difference (for those that saw any difference)?

5. Current status (e.g. no longer sensitive)


I am NOT talking about sensitivity to artificial ingredients in general-- I think almost all the regulars avoid these -- I have seen studies that they affect the general population also. I think it is important to eliminate them (our family sure does!)...I just consider this a separate topic and it is on a separate thread. However, salicytes e.g. tomatoes, would be a food sensitivity (artificial additives aren't food!). Corn sugar is a food, but I don't consider BHT, MSG and red dye 40 to be foods. Maybe I am being arbitrary, tough to know where to cut it. Still, some posters commented on both areas here.


***So far: 17 of 19 of us found food sensitivities, and 16 of the 17 who did elimination showed some improvement in something: behavior and/or tics. (kmtatt's is too recent) found Almost everyone noticed within a week. A few were doing other treatments simultaneously and couldn't directly attribute it to the food elimination with certainty. ***


Key: parent, Yes/No to sensitivities, tic impact (TI), time to improve.

Remember, this does not include the very common reaction to artificial ingredients--could be independently tracked.

1. Jean--Yes: Diary/wheat/sugar/eggs...; minimal TI; less stuffiness,/congestion/constipation/mood improvement; 1 week


2. Ronna--Yes: Milk/eggs/chocolate/corn...; Major TI (mostly eliminated); decreased irritability/less impulsive/made better decisions/decreased "weepiness"/decreased separation anxiety; 1 week


3. efgh--Yes: Milk/eggs/chocolate/salicylates--esp.OJ/peanuts/coconuts; Significant TI; Significant di in allergies3) yes, less hyper, more calm, composed; 1 month; Status: still sensitive--mainly to milk/OJ


4. Jeff Daughter #1, 12 yrs---Yes: salicylate--tomatoes/oranges/apples; Significant TI; less whiney; 1 week; Status: mildly sensitive. Can eat sals, but must not overdo it.


5. Jeff Daughter #2, 10 yrs--Yes: Corn syrup; Unclear TI. improves behavior: less irritable/less loud voice/less angry/more focus. One sal. reaction: gets down on the floor -either doing forward rolls, just lying there is some contorted position, or whatever; Status: Sensitivity lessening or maybe reducing intake has helped prevent accumulations.Can have Coke on weekends without too much trouble.




7. Heather--Yes: Milk/Corn Syrup; Major TI; behaviours improved - falling asleep at night easier/ess fidgety/less crying/improved bowel movements; A month (though supplements added then also); Status: After months, still mildly sensitive...milk still big one


8. Susanna--Yes: wheat/eggs/dairy/soy/citrus/yeast/plums/white potatoes...; no TI (one week only so far, and tics were already under control); sleeping issues resolved themselves within days; notice correlation betweenhigh fructose corn syrup & negative behavior; only days for sleep to improve


9. Bean --Yes-milk/cheese/casein/egg/wheat/citrus/safflower/sesame/ soy/walnut/ wheat/ yeast; some TI--but other simultaneous treatments; Other: none; A few days.


10. MC--Yes, eggs/kidney beans/sesame seeds. Major TI--all gone. Some improvement within 2 weeks; Other: other symptoms improving even after months


11. Andy -Yes had food sensitivities--???, Some TI.


12. Ausclare --Yes, (which foods?) , significant TI?


13. Alison --Yes, eliminated milk/soy. Saw improvement within a week from eliminating milk. IgG blood test also showed gluten but not soy.


14. NT Bowen, corn, gluten, and dairy. Minimal TI- lots of facial grimacing, tensing (arms and whole body), jumping, echolalia. Significant behavior difference with CORN eliminated. We have a "true" corn allergy shown on a scratch test. When completely eliminated (which is very hard to do), diarrhea, asthma, and "drunken" behavior as we call it disappeared. His eyes would get red, pushing people, completely unable to control his behavior, woke up unconsolable from naps. If he gets corn, these things return immediately...we always know when a mistake has happened. Gluten elimination makes the echolalia better. He acts so out of it (spacy) when he eats gluten. Dairy is hard to say except all milk has some sort of corn derivative except I believe one which we never used (we didn't know at the time). He had intense cravings for dairy and gluten...he would have eaten nothing but milk, yogurt, cheese, and bread if we let him. He is a great eater so this was not hard, but he did go through withdraw initially. Immediate difference...even better within a few weeks. Still tics significantly and I really believe food makes much more of a difference with him as far as behavior and mood instead of impacting tics. We are still exploring sals and sugar which really do seem to make tics worse too. Sometimes I think he has bad reactions to sugar because his body is not use to them. Yesterday I gave him some Rice Dream ice cream after not really having sugar in a few weeks and he had bad tics.


15. Dara. www.elisaact.comYes (milk, cane sugar others) Initial elimination showed improvement. Tics got worse again later, but other factors involved.


16. Carolyn lsc. Yes. www.Elisact.com delayed reactions to: cow dairy products, walnuts, pistachio, cauliflower, currant, sage, spinach, grape/raisin, carob, barley. Immediate reactions to: Chocolate, Corn, Egg Mix, Milk, Soybean, Tomato, Wheat, Yeast-Bakers, Cheese Mix, Chicken, Cinnamon, Garlic, Sugar-Cane. Saw some improvement with removal.


17. kmtatt www.immunolabs.com Yes. bananas, cheese, egg, milk, rye, wheat, Yeast, brewers, yeast bakers (Mar 05).


NEGATIVE--NO food sensitivities (or allergies)

1. Phyl No- test done several years ago, only "mild" to orange/ flounder.

2. Chemar--No: Tested twice, at 4 and 10 yrs. No food allergies--other than slight reaction to peanuts, which is now gone. High fructose corn syrup an issue



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My answers are below:


1). Dairy, wheat, sugar, eggs...

2). minimal

3). Much less stuffing nose (after avoid dairy), significantly reduce the sniffing, better mood, and less constipation

4). about a week


Hope this helps!



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I did a food elimination diet for my son almost a year ago. To answer your questions...


1. He was sensitive to MILK (casein), eggs, chocolate and corn.

2. Eliminating these foods made a MAJOR difference and his tics were for the most part eliminated.

3. Other changes I noticed were decreased irritability, less impulsive, made better decisions, and decreased "weepiness" and decreased separation anxiety.

4. Within a week we noticed a big difference.


Doing a food elimination diet was the #1 best thing for my son. I am now able to rotate corn, eggs and chocolate back into his diet but seriously milk still sends my son into a tailspin. If he has milk it is the only time he tics and his behavior just becomes intolerable.


As a side note...if he has milk he is very difficult to wake up and get going the next morning and at 8 years old the only time he has an "accident" at night is if he has had milk.


I am a HUGE believer in doing a food elimination diet. Our pediatrician actually questioned whether the effort to do a food elimination diet was worth the try...well let me tell you that no matter how hard eliminating some foods from our diet has been it is not nearly as hard as dealing with the tics and behavioral issues.


Hope this helps.


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Hi Ronnas,


Nice to see you checking in. I agree with you re the trade-off (though I am not sure the children always have this insight)...


Very interested comment you made on milk and tiredness and it really got me thinking. I have a casein issue too and I know when I eliminated milk and cheese, I felt less tired. Now I have been sneaking cheese...and feeling more tired. Let's see what happens when I remove it again. I know that is supposed to be an effect of casein (and gluten also, for those with issues).



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Guest Guest_efgh



Nice of you to have started this thread. interesting and useful!


My answers


!) sensitive to Milk, eggs, chocolate, salicylates esp. Orange juice, peanuts and coconuts. (formal testing done - skin prick test)

2) Significant difference in his tics/allergies after eliminating these.

3) yes, less hyper after eliminating these changes. More calm and composed now.

4) 1 month

5) still sensitive (mainly to milk and orange juice).


thanks and keep up your good work!

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Daughter #1 (currently 12 yrs old):

What foods was your child sensitive to? salicylates (tomatoes, oranges, apples)

Did eliminating them reduce tics? Yes - significantly.

Other changes? Yes. Sals make her whiney - "I can't do this..."

How long did it take to notice a difference? about 1 week

Current status: mildly sensitive. Can eat sals, but must not overdo it.


Daughter #2 (currently 10 yrs old):

Foods? Corn syrup

Reduce tics? Maybe, although I think it affects her behavior more than tics.

Other changes: Irritable, voice gets loud, gets angry, loses focus. Another odd symptom is that she gets down on the floor -either doing forward rolls, just lying there is some contorted position, or whatever. Just seems to want to be on the floor during one of these reactions....

Current status: Sensitivity might be lessening or might be that reducing the intake has helped prevent accumulations. She can have a Coke on weekends without too much trouble. Reactions are usually same day, and last 1-2 days.


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Hi Claire,


although we did food sensitivity testing when my son was young (4yo) and again after his TS diagnosis(10yo) and also specific food elimination when we were detoxing from candida(yeast), my son does NOT have any food allergies or sensitivities, other than to artificial ingredients. He showed only a slight reactivity to peanuts, but now seems to tolerate them just fine.


He does however react big time to artificial sweeteners, colors, flavors, high fructose corn syrup, preservatives and MSG and so we totally avoid these.

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Thanks a million to all that answered so far. I am compiling a summary of responses in the first post on the thread--for newcomers to better recognize how common food sensitivities are. (or isn't--but so far it looks significant). I am still surprised at the impact on behavior.



I have the Feingold program, but could you list salicylates (sp)? According to the tests, my son is sensitive to apples, bananas, cranberries, and I am sensitive to peaches. Are these salyc.?


If so, do people often have a reaction to some, not others-? (e.g. I didn't realize apples were in there--so it caught my attention). I also reaction to eggplant, and my son to onions, and I think at least one of these is 'nightshade', whatever that is!



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A good idea for a thread Claire. Have had a busy weekend so sorry for the delay.



1) My son is sensitive to:


Milk Products (although he can tolerate goat's milk and cheese)

Corn Syrup

Dyes and Colours

HVP (Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein) which contains MSG


2) Elimination dramatically helped in reducing tics


3) Other behaviours that have improved - falling asleep easier at night, less

fidgety, less crying, improved bowel movements


4) Within a month there was major improvement (supplements were added during this time frame as well)


5) After months of supplements he is mildly sensitive...milk still seems to be a big

one for him

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Like Chemar's son, my son had a food sensitivity/allergy test done several years ago and nothing came out with any significant sensitivity other than "mild" for a few things like organge and flounder. We did however notice a direct effect whenever he had artificial food coloring - these caused facial tics and hyperactivity. (He couldn't stop running from room to room). Also msg affects him greatly - he has trouble breathing and gets very anxious. So we avoid those things.

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1) My son is sensitive to 14 items among which are wheat, eggs, dairy, soy, citrus, yeast, plums and white potatoes


2) No significant tic improvement after the elimination of these food items, however tics were already under control after the previous elimination of the artificial colors, flavors, preservatives and high fructose corn syrup


3) It's only been a week so it's still hard to gauge any significant improvement in overhall behavior, however, sleeping issues seemed to have resolved themselves within days! I do notice a correlation between the ingestion of high fructose corn syrup and negative behavior. The one thing that amazes me however, is that he doesn't fight me on the food elimination....that in itself is an improvement in behavior


4) Again, it's only been a week but sleeping issues were better within days


5) N/A...we've just started the food elimination


Overall making dietary changes has been worth it. If nothing else I feel that our whole family is eating better/healthier by eliminating the junk, and my son doesn't seem to crave snacking as much since eliminating his reactive foods...that was always an issue with us.

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1.Yes,IgG testing showed 14 sensitivities including cheese, citrus, safflower, sesame, soy, walnut, wheat, yeast, milk. Egg and casein showed up in a seperate test. Traditional back scratch testing did not show any sensitivities and I would consider an unreliable source.


2.There has been a reduction of tics. The frequency is less and they are more subtle. She is more "quiet." We also started yeast elimination(Nystatin), bacteria elimination (Septra) for Strep in the stomach, probiotics, and l-carnitine in addition to the vitamins,magnesium and fish oil supplementation. We are also doing Craniosacral Therapy that has helped with tic reduction. It's hard to say if diet alone has been the answer but it seems to be helping.


3. Oddly, my daughter was a very well adjusted, outgoing, happy, social child that just began to tic one day. She really has no other "issues."


4.We noticed a difference after a few days.Although she went for Craniosacral Therapy on day 5 of diet and that was when I saw the most significant improvement.


5.We are three weeks into diet and things are about the same. Improvement in tics but still not back to how she was.

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Claire, Some of the foods that are higher in sals are:

Apples, oranges, all berries, grapes, peaches, tomatoes (including tomato sauce).

For fruits, we eat canteloupe, watermelon, pears, bananas, mangoes, kiwi.

At first we completely avoided the foods higher in sals (that was hard - people really thought we had flipped out when we wouldn't allow our children to eat apples...) But now we allow them, but measured. She might have an apple one day, pizza another, and maybe some strawberry yogurt another day. But we don't let her have too much of one item - for example, she won't eat three apples in one week. We have let things slide recently (a lot of strawberries and peaches), and we're seeing a shoulder tic and a nose scrunch - both mild, but a good sign that we need to back off.

Sources will sometimes vary as to which foods are high, medium, or low in sals. We follow the guidelines in Feingold manual.

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Guest Guest_Heather



I noticed that you said apple one day, then pizza the next, etc. Does this mean that the cumulative effect of these foods causing the tics has to be too much of that one particular food and the combination of triggering foods, if moderate, doesn't affect you? I am still exploring in that area. I am experimenting with apple one day and then maybe pizza the next day and wondering if the cumulative effect works in combination or if it just too much of one particular item at a time. My son is still doing so well and I am introducing triggering foods in moderation with no reaction so far.


My son is also sensitive to grapes and strawberries and as you said, people think I am crazy to avoid these nutritious fruits.



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Heather, That advice was given to me by someone who has been doing Feingold and natural foods for many years. It seems to be working for us, too. That is, to NOT eat too much of one hi-sal food. If we vary them we seem to avoid reactions.

By the way, the person who gave me that advice is the owner of Squirrel's Nest candy store. She sells all-natural candies, and you can shop on-line. Her store is near where we live, so I make regular trips there!

I am so glad that has worked for us, because we can still enjoy some of those foods without the reactions.


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