Tourette Syndrome is a neurological disorder characterized by involuntary movements and vocalizations referred to as tics.

The syndrome is most often found in children between the ages of 2 and 15 years, and affects boys more often than girls.

 

Causes of Tourette Syndrome

The definitive cause of Tourette Syndrome is unknown.  However, as it has been found to be hereditary, genetics play a role, and research is constantly being conducted to reveal the specific genes and other factors that underlie the condition.  It has been suggested that anomalies in the neurotransmitters of the brain, such as dopamine and serotonin, can lead to Tourette Syndrome.  The condition has a comorbidity with depression and sleep disturbance, which can be associated with low levels of serotonin.

 

Symptoms of Tourette Syndrome

The severeness of the symptoms associated with Tourette Syndrome depend on the individual, with symptoms varying from mild or moderate to severe.  Below is a list of symptoms that individuals with Tourette Syndrome often present.  It is important to note that the number of symptoms a person presents with varies from person to person - some may exhibit only one whilst others will present with numerous symptoms.

 

Motor Tics - including:

  • Random blinking of the eye
  • Stretching of the neck
  • Arm jerking
  • Shrugging of the shoulders
  • Random jaw movement

More complex motor tics include jumping, touching people and/or objects, pulling at clothing, and hitting or biting oneself.  These actions are done out of being compelled, unlike the previous list of motor tics, which are performed involuntarily.

 

 Vocal Tics - including:

  •  Random shouting
  • Grunting
  • Throat clearing
  • Sniffing
  • Tongue clicking

Complex vocal tics include the repetition of words or phrases that don’t necessarily make any sense.

 

Nutritional Supplements for Tourette Syndrome

It has been found that certain supplements, when used in conjunction with therapy and a holistic lifestyle, can improve Tourette Syndrome, including:

  • Green Food Powders: Greens powders that contain a combination of green food ingredients such as spirulina, chlorella, barley grass, wheat grass, etc. help to neutralize the excessive acid in the body, creating an alkaline environment.  This helps to stabilize the system, which can help to reduce the symptoms of Tourette Syndrome.
  • Omega-3 fatty acid: Daily intake of Omega-3 is crucial for brain function and behavior.  It can reduce hyperactivity and improve concentration in people with Tourette's.
  • Multivitamins: Adequate intake of vitamins in the body helps the nervous system to function properly and promote the emotional and mental health of the body. It is recommended that people with Tourette syndrome take a daily multivitamin supplement.
  • The B vitamins support the nervous system, promote healthy skin and hair, combat stress and depression, fight free radicals, boosts HDL cholesterol, regulate mood and sleep, and reduce inflammation. As stress is a common trigger for Tourette’s, it is important to support the body’s ability to fight stress.

    Vitamin B12, in particular, can support those with Tourette’s by fighting depression and anxiety and improving concentration and cognitive function. For best results, be sure to follow the National Institutes of Health recommended dosing.

  • Vitamin D: It’s believed that nearly 90% of the population has a vitamin D deficiency. Often overlooked as an essential nutrient, vitamin D plays a critical role in the nervous system, muscle health and depression. In fact, researchers from the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Ontario, Canada found that there is a strong relationship between vitamin D and depression.
  • Magnesium: Magnesium aids the body in reducing muscle tension. Studies have shown that magnesium helps to reduce the intensity of tics in people with Tourette Syndrome.  In 2008, researchers in Spain found that oral solutions of magnesium and Vitamin B6 decreased total tic scores in children with Tourette Syndrome.
  • Zinc: People with Tourette Syndrome often have a zinc deficiency. Zinc is needed for proper muscle coordination and allows the brain to function effectively.
  • Passion Flower: In a double-blind, randomized controlled trial that pitted Passiflora extract vs. Oxazepam, researchers found that Passiflora extract is effective for the management of anxiety, and has a low incidence of impairment of performance when compared to oxazepam.

    Individuals with Tourette’s  often have trouble sleeping, anxiety and depression, and often have co-occurring ADHD.  Passion Flower is known to help with these conditions. There are teas and supplements available; follow recommended dosing for best results.

 

Holistic Lifestyle

While there is no cure for Tourette’s, individuals with the condition can live fully functional and satisfying lives. Dietary changes as well as nutritional supplements can help alleviate symptoms while various therapies help individuals develop effective coping strategies.

As an imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain is believed to contribute to Tourette Syndrome, various steps, including cutting back on sugar, caffeine and grains, and eating more organic and nutritional foods, can help to regain the balance.

Tourette Syndrome

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