Which dietary modifications are used in the treatment of Tourette syndrome (TS) and other tic disorders?

Updated: May 30, 2019
  • Author: William C Robertson, Jr, MD; Chief Editor: Stephen L Nelson, Jr, MD, PhD, FAACPDM, FAAN, FAAP  more...
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Ordinary diet is not known to have an effect on tics. Some concentrated dietary supplements used as drugs (also called nutraceuticals) may affect tic severity. For example, one of the author's patients had a marked increase in tic severity while taking an herbal product marketed for weight loss that contained ephedrine, ginkgo, caffeine, guaraná, and other ingredients.

Some nutraceuticals may possibly improve tic symptoms, but no adequate evidence exists at present. Furthermore, because these products do not undergo the meticulous scrutiny required of other drugs by the FDA, their safety in general is not well established. This is important since a large majority of patients with TS have used these drugs. However, both the National Institutes of Health and the TSA have expressed interest in supporting properly designed research on such treatments, and adequately tested products may be hoped for in the future.

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