A few months ago, my friend Marlene shared her son's experience with tics and the Feingold Diet. If you missed her post, click here to read it.
Below is an exerpt from my book, "All Natural Mom's Guide to the Feingold Diet" that touches on our family's experience with tics and the Feingold Diet.
Tourette Syndrome & Tics
Two of my kids have Tourette-like reactions or tics when they eat too many salicylates. 3 One year, one of my boys started chewing his shirt collars incessantly. He actually chewed holes through his shirts and wore out the collars of all his shirts. He would come home from school with a big wet ring around his collar every day. His teacher mentioned his chewing and I got him a chew necklace. That didn’t help. She thought he might have anxiety. I didn’t know what was causing these issues so I went online.
I learned that chewing can be a sign of zinc deficiency so we supplemented with zinc. 4 While I do believe he was deficient in zinc, supplementing with zinc did not stop his tics. Magnesium is another vitamin that can sometimes help reduce tics.5
Since supplementing didn’t help, I started looking through the ingredients of the foods he was eating. As soon as school started, he started eating peanut butter breakfast bars almost every day before school, and occasionally had blueberries.
I read the ingredients on the breakfast bars and noticed there were apples in them. I must have overlooked that when I bought them. I pulled them from his diet, and watched all other salicylates and he stopped chewing his shirts! Finally! He had chewed his clothes for about three or four months and instantly stopped.
When I tested later to see if the apples and blueberries were causing his chewing, sure enough, when I gave him blueberries, he started chewing his shirt again.
In my research and in talking to other moms, I learned that tics can also be a symptom of yeast overgrowth (a big topic, to be explained in a future book). 6 All of the stage two fruits feed yeast. So, removing those fruits also removes those yeast feeders.
I’ve noticed that one of my children experiences tics when they eat too much sugar as well. That supports my theory that yeast overgrowth and salicylate sensitivity are somehow related.
The tics my kids experience from salicylates change over time, as is common with Tourette Syndrome. My kids will have each tic for a few months and then all of sudden start doing something else from salicylates. I have no idea why this is.
Sometimes my kids will cough habitually, clear their throat or blink really hard over and over. Sometimes they shrug their shoulders non-stop or stick their tongue out to the side. Sometimes they tap their pencil on the table or desk or open their mouth really wide. They don’t even realize they are doing these things and it is out of their control. If I tell them to stop, they’ll be doing it again a minute later.
My son went through a stage when he was about four where he could not stop snorting. Every five seconds or so, he would snort like a pig and couldn’t stop. We were about to walk in to a school concert that had already started, and my son was snorting rather loud. We kept telling him to stop. He almost started crying and said, “I can’t!” I took him outside for the remainder of the concert. We then pulled the fruits and watched the sugar intake, and he finally stopped snorting.
So, for our family, (and only my boys for some reason!) avoiding dyes, artificial flavors, and preservatives helped eliminate a lot of unwanted behaviors such as hyperactivity, inability to concentrate, aggression, and emotional outbursts, and avoiding foods high in salcilyates eliminated their tics. Foods high in salicylates include things like almost all berries like strawberries, blueberries, etc., grapes, apples, tomatoes, cucumbers, and more.
As I mentioned in my book, those fruits also feed yeast so treating for yeast overgrowth is also helpful. See my post here on how we treat for yeast. For my kids, yeast overgrowth may be the root cause of their tics but in the short term, a change in their diet eliminated them instantly. And thank goodness, because anyone who has a kid with tics knows how annoying it can get! :)
Labels: All Natural Mom's Guide to the Feingold Diet E-Book, Feingold Diet Info