This article is being revisited. Please note that when we switched to a new website format we were unable to leave the helpful comments from readers in their original form, so they have been incorporated into the article. To leave a comment now, please scroll to the end of the page.
My tics started when I was five and have been unrelenting since. I am now 48.The worst is definitely eye twitches. Although embarrassing, they were never bad enough to prevent a happy and successful life.
I was born in the UK and lived with asthma and known allergies to all sorts of grasses and trees, feathers, dust, dogs and cats. Each spring was a particular nightmare.
In 2000 I relocated to the USA and have lived in Chicago and now Tampa. Two distinct things happened. My tics got worse while most of my allergies vanished. I have no reaction to grasses, trees, dust or feathers in America, and I have milder reactions to cats and dogs.
I recently read Natural Treatment for Tic’s and Tourettes. What a fantastic book! I will go forward with renewed optimism. As I read the book I decided to experiment with diet and nutrients as a test, before seeking professional help.
I now avoid caffeine, soda, artificial flavorings/colors, milk, wheat and generally eat as much organic food as possible. I cut alcohol consumption in half. I take magnesium, fish oil and taurine. The tics have decreased (sometimes stopping for a few hours) and the associated obsessive compulsive symptoms are noticeably better. The next step is definitely professional help related to diet, allergy, and nutrition.
Here’s the kicker! As my Tourette symptoms lessen, the allergies are returning. As I write this my eyes are itching and watering. Over recent weeks, I have had hay fever for the first time in twelve years. I would be interested to know if this is common.
As an aside, I find heat and sunlight make my tics worse.
I would be grateful for any information and suggestions from your readers that might help me take the next step. Please answer in a Comment below.
(Full name withheld; stock photo)
Simon, I was diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome at age 38 (I am now 64). I have found that diet indeed does have an impact on the severity of my tics. Petroleum products like gas, diesel, oil base paint/stain,etc also bother me. Four years ago I found out about light sensitivity, better known as the Irlen Syndrome. I have been wearing Irlen filters for 3 1/2 years and the reduction of my tics has been astounding. Please go to www.Irlen.com and check it out. Please feel free to email me for information. I am a certified Irlen Screener.
Simon, I am 42 years old and suffered from an eye tic that started in my late teens. Two years ago I had all of my metal dental fillings (which are 50% mercury) removed and my eye tic almost entirely disappeared overnight (I would say 90 % improvement). So if you have metal dental fillings I would suggest you go to a biological dentist (who specialize in removing mercury fillings safely) and have them removed. But if you do make sure to do it slowly – one or two fillings at a time over the course of several months. My own theory about the relationship between eye tics and mercury fillings is that your fillings off-gass when you chew and your eyes are literally right above your teeth so when the mercury vapor rises it gets absorbed into the tissue and blood vessels at the top of your mouth and from there it’s an extremely short trip to your eyes. I have no other explanation but for me I can tell you without question they were the cause of my eye tics. I have also read that mercury accumulates in a certain part of the eye (the outer layer near the top/back portion of the eye) which is where I would get that feeling/urge/tension that would cause me to have to tic.
My son, now 15 has had OCDs and Tourette’s since he was five. He has also always suffered from sinus issues, having numerous rounds of antibiotics when he was four. He does not have any ‘true’ allergies but does react to many things in the environment, including VOCS, stress and foods. I have to agree that I think there is a relationship between toxins and symptoms. We have had a huge success following the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) for the past 15 months. See www.pecanbread.com. This diet is about healing the gut, reducing the toxins produced by bad bacteria (which tests showed my son had) so that the body can properly absorb nutrients from foods and deal with toxins. It seems when toxins build up is when people start having problems. My son’s symptoms have been greatly reduced and the list of supplements he needs has also reduced.
I have also found nasal irrigation to be really helpful with the sinus issues and post nasal drip that he has had forever as well as reducing his tics. It also stopped the obsessive cough that had plagued him (and his class mates) for the 12 months preceding. I recommend you find a good DO who has an interest in nutritional medicine. Have the tests done to determine what nutrients your body needs and supplement accordingly (we did the Organix Comprehensive Profile from Metametrix, Bioscreen faecal microbial analysis and Doctor’s Data hair analysis for heavy metals). If you do decide to follow the SCD give it one month. This was all I asked of my son. The first two weeks were absolutely horrible and it all got much worse but by the end of the month, he had seen enough improvement that he wanted to continue (and still does). I have also found his symptoms reduced after a visit to the Chiroprator.
I agree with several other comments, so I won’t repeat any of that info. Have you eliminated hydrogenated **whatever**? I found that peanut butter bothered my son, but it wasn’t the peanuts. When we switched to natural peanut butter – only peanuts and salt – he did not have a problem. I think it’s the hydrogenated oils that triggered his tics.
My son is 11 and has had tics since he was 5. I, too, have the “Natural Treatments for Tics and Tourettes” and have tried many of the things recommended. I have found the greatest success with eliminating wheat and dairy and adding high doses of vitamin C (6,000mg), vitamin B6 (500mg) and Magnesium (500mg) Make sure you are taking magnesium OROTATE as it is the most absorbable form of magnesium.) He also takes Guanfacine. When I took him off the Guanfacine, his impulsiveness and executive function issues went up immediately, however, I did not notice great changes in his tics.
As for allergies, try using XCLEAR nose spray (3 pack on Amazon.com for $15.39.) It is natural and made with Xylitol. I have been using it over a year now and it has kept my allergies under control (more like nonexistent) better than Singular, Nasonex, Astelyn, ocean spray, etc. I no longer use any of those products, and have saved literally hundreds of dollars. I also give it to my kids and it has completely cleared up the clear sniffles. Read, “No More Allergies, Asthma or Sinus Infections” by Jon Jones. One more thing, add a good Pro-biotic (with at least 10 stains) to your vitamin regimen.
This is a great blog. Just when you think you’ve read and tried everything…
We were in Destin, FL this week where my son started tic’ing like crazy, and not until reading this did I make the connection about the tropical storm Debby moving through to the east of us. The tics got better as the storm moved farther away.
You can find detailed dietary information and guidance from the Feingold Association (www.feingold.org). The food research will show you which brands are the safest and best options. And the information on natural salicylates might be helpful. Also, I found that a homeopath helped my seasonal allergies, but you have to search for a really good doc.
My son’s tics became problematic whenever his body was overwhelmed with toxins – toxins caused by the body killing a bacterial infection, toxins caused by mold and/or toxins such as mercury. (I suspect allergens would also fall in this category)
The body uses something called the transsulfuration pathway to eliminate toxins. This pathway is supported by B6 and Zinc and especially glutathione, which is the body’s premier toxin remover. It’s very difficult to supplement directly with glutathione (poorly absorbed) but you can take other supplements such as alpha lipoic acid, which is a glutathione precursor. I’d research “oxidative stress,” and “transsulfuration pathway” for more information. I know when you move to a new area, you may not initially be allergic to the native plants but that if you live there long enough, you can eventually develop allergies. Florida’s high humidity may also be creating a mold problem for you. You can go to www.survivingmold.com for additional mold information. Very often, it’s not one single reason or one single cure when it comes to chronic illness. It is more likely a matter of peeling away layers. You may want to find a good Osteopath or Naturopath to run some blood tests and provide some comprehensive advice. But if you’ve seen improvements from the modifications you’ve already made, I hope that gives you hope that further gains are possible. Best of luck to you!
Have you considered various methods of de-toxing? Have you had your heavy metals levels tested? Do you have amalgam fillings? Have you considered mercury or other toxic substances as a cause of your allergies and/or your tics? I have also used homeopathic remedies for my daughter as well as elimination of food substances that we know increase her tics. These go beyond the most obvious of gluten, dairy, processed sugar but include certain normal healthy foods which her body produces higher level of antibodies to. Interestingly, bright light used to and does still a little (screens) make my daughter’s tics worse. She is 90% better than last year with a combination of dietary changes, much purer and avoiding certain foods, cranial osteopathy, homeopathy and more organic body products.
My son’s tics were helped immeasurably by taking large doses of vitamin B6. One year, we were going to be taking a trip and I was concerned about him attracting attention on the airplane. I thought to myself that if B6 is helpful, then maybe some B12 on top of that would help even more. So I started giving him B12. He started ticking severely. At the time, of course, I had no idea why. I just thought he was having a sudden exacerbation. I continued both vitamins, assuming that his tics were spontaneous and beyond my control. A few weeks later while we were on our trip, his symptoms were terrible. I was racking my brain to figure out what had changed in his life to bring on such terrible tics. Then it occurred to me–the severe tics started about the time that I started giving him vitamin B12. That night in the hotel, I gave him his usual B6, but for the first time in a month or so, I did not give him a B12. When he woke up the next morning, he was a new kid. The tics were GONE. Not reduced, and not gradually tapering off–I mean GONE. GONE OVERNIGHT. I stopped the B12, and made sure that I did not give him any multivitamin with B12 in it. End of severe and immediate problem. Of course a person needs B12 nutritionally, and I never limited his diet to restrict this vitamin, I just made sure that he never got another B12 supplement. Although he still has a few small tics now and then, he never ever went through anything like that again. My advice to you would be to heavily increase your B6 supplementation, and eliminate all B12 supplementation. The other major thing we did was to use guanfacine, the blood pressure medicine. This medicine has only the minor side effect of taking the wind out of your sails–and it is also this effect that takes away the tics–it mellows you out and the tics go with it. Good luck.
Hi Simon, My first post seems to have disappeared, so I will try again. My 21 year old son has very bad life interrupting tics(head and neck,facial, arms, legs, torso, etc.) as well as severe autism, no speech or academic skills, although he looks like any other 21 year old young man. We live near Tampa and I think we may be able to help each other. My son does not have an effective means of communication, so I have had to do a lot of research…all natural, as meds make him worse, in fact I believe that a round of Risperdal may have caused his tics and prompt dependence. I am so glad you found the book, “Natural treatments for Tics and Tourettes” It has been a phenomenal help for my son. I searched for a long time for natural treatments, and this book has been a God send! Feel free to email me. I would like to share the treatments I have used for my son. I forgot to add that my son’s tics are also much worse in Florida’s high humidity summers. He is much happier and obviously feels better with less tics in the winters which are much like the summers up north. I am wondering how you have been doing during TS Debby and the approaching full moon? The pull of the moon and Barometric pressure changes affect my son. He has been a mess. I use Valerian to calm him, as stress and excitement seem to increase his tics
Hi ‘Simon’, My 21 year old son has severe tics that interrupt most aspects of his life, including sleep. He also has severe Autism and no speech or academic skills. We are also in Florida, Bradenton, just below Tampa. My son’s tics increase during hurricane season, storms, and also a few days before full moon. I have found that when I give him supplements, etc. to decrease yeast overgrowth and parasites his tics are decreased. I also use Homeopathics.I would like you and my son to meet since we live close, maybe we can help each other. My son cannot express thoughts, etc. really has no effective means of communication, so I have had to research and try many alternative treatments for him. “Natural Treatments For Tics and Tourettes” is a phenomenal book, I am glad that you found it. Please feel free to email me. I can direct you to websites of avenues I have explored for my son, and again, I think it may be beneficial for both you and my son if we could meet.
Hey Simon, My son has tics/ocd and I do believe most, if not all of his tics come from when he has too many things he is allergic to, he has many food allergies but no environmental allergies, thank goodness. Anyway, this is the first I’ve read about anyone losing their tics and gaining more allergy symtoms. My first thought is that maybe when your body reacts with normal physical symptoms like watery eyes, that maybe it gives you a break from the other reactions. In other words, can only show up in one way. Or it may be that tics/ocd symptoms happen when you are on major overload and your body’s way of reacting when it has way too much and when you have minimal exposure to allergens your body reacts in normal ways. Not real sure but certainly has me thinking and wondering. As anyone that has dealt with tics, you know that it makes you ponder and analyze everything.
My daughters tics are definitely helped ( though not cured) through diet. As well as nothing artificial, we did an elimination diet and found she reacted strongly to wheat, eggs, dairy and corn. Corn, by the way, is in everything in America. Eliminating these foods that were bothering her, and eating super clean has made her tics invisible to most people. I would really recommend an elimation diet and see if there are things that are aggravating your tics.
I forgot to add that recently I had to take some pharmaceuticals and found some plain clear capsules so I emptied the colored capsules and put the powder into the clear capsules to avoid the dyed green capsules and unfortunately the contents had blue dye in the white powder so I was forced to take benadryl with each dose to help fight the allergic reaction I had to the dye in the white powder. I know that the dye was in the powder because first I had the reaction to it and I checked, as I always do, the ingredients which said it had the blue dye in it. I discovered that dye free benadryl stops a migraine headache within 30 minutes! I get a migraine headache from taking Excedrin because it also contains blue dye!
I’d suggest you try first getting more vitamin C; Adelle Davis in her classic Lets Get Well cites eight studies, “Abnormally small amounts of vitamin C are found in the blood of persons with allergies…(who)become particularly suceptible to allergens when vitamin C is undersupplied.” Her suggestion of 500mg thrice daily freed my two brothers-in-law of their asthma symptoms except rare occasion. Failing this and more magnesium, neurofeedback may well help. If close to Jupiter, see M. Cohen at www.centerforbrain.com
I have an idea you may want to pursue. I take Lecithin granules in the non-GMO variety. Lecithin is very calming to the central nervous system. It is worth a try. It is pretty safe, but if a person has thyroid issues they should avoid it. Do some research on Lecithin and see if you think it is right for you.
I know that most of the tics are caused by intracranial pressure (ICP) caused by the artificial colors, flavors and preservatives. The biggest one is Calcium Disodium EDTA, The preservative used in almost all margarine and mayonnaise, It’s made from formaldehyde and sodium cyanide, One instance of consumption can last as long as almost 4 weeks. As a rule I generally do not eat anything containing that preservative, I must avoid (100%) all restaurants like Chick Fil A which used EDTA in all it’s sauces and the mayonnaise. Everybody uses the mayo and margarine and nobody knows about the EDTA. It is also used in Brisk Iced Tea, 7-UP, 5 hour energy drink and canned mushrooms, beans and some other products. (read all the labels!) To help alleviate the ICP, I take dye free benadryl capsules. The thing most people do not realize is that all the artificial additives are in fact allergens and that’s why the Benadryl works.
To add your comments please scroll to the end of the page