What is Tourettes?

David Beckham
David Beckham has TS

What is Tourettes?  I was on the train going to London and there was a young man in the seat in front.  To my surprise he started twitching and swearing.  This was my first encounter with someone with Tourettes.  People were looking round and scowling and I must admit I was a little appauled at the profanities coming from him.  I thought at one time, he was swearing at me!  Tourette syndrome (TS) is an unfortunate and debilitating condition but, it is not generally the only condition that the sufferer has to contend with…

The name comes from…

TS was named after Georges Albert Édouard Brutus Gilles de la Tourette (1857–1904), a French physician and neurologist, who published an account of nine patients with Tourette’s in 1885.  The condition was known of before that time.  The famous musician Mozart suffered from TS way back in his day (1756-1791).

TS childA neurological disorder

Tourette syndrome is a neurological disorder which often exhibits itself in childhood.  It is initially characterized by motor tics often accompanied by at least one vocal tic.  Often excessive blinking is first noticed by the parent and then other tics such as coughing, sniffing and throat clearing appear with other facial movements.  The urges and sensations appear to be uncontrollable and causes distress to the parent and child alike.

Rarer in adults

The different tics, vocal or motor, can come and go or be replaced by other combinations of twitching movements and vocalisations.  Some cases are quite mild and often missed as there are no specific tests for diagnosing TS.  It often disappears as the child grows through adolescence.  It is more rare in adults as are the vocal tics involving swearing and blaspheming.  In fact a very small percentage appear to be afflicted with blurting out of obscenities and derogatory remarks known as ‘coprolalia’.  Often, a person with TS is unnoticed by others.

family habitsIs it hereditory, habit…

So is tourette syndrome hereditory?  Studies of family groups including twins and siblings would infer that indeed the condition is hereditory but it is something that could be as a result of family paradigms and habits.  For example, if the mother and father eat and do certain things, then the children will eat and do similarly.  The parent will prepare meals for the whole family, so if there are deficiencies in those meals, then all the family will have similar nutrient imbalances.   Could this be misconstrued as hereditory?

or a deficiency?

As the reason for TS could be associated with nutrient deficiencies and as nutrient deficiencies are now rife within the population because of junk foods and poor soils, these deficiencies could be due to eating habits imprinted on the child from the parent.  If parents are prone to TS and other like conditions because of diet and lifestyle, then the offspring will likely be similarly inflicted.

cat on fenceInconclusive studies

Despite studies indicating that TS is hereditory, no research has come up with positive proof that a specific gene or genes could be responsible.  There are many possibles and maybes but nothing definite and without question.  Until is is proven, I will sit on the fence but be much more inclined towards a nutrient deficiency, especially as so many parents and children have had success with magnesium and vitamin B6.

Other neurological conditions

The other compelling evidence for a dietary problem is the incidences of other conditions being suffered alongside TS.  Conditions such as ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).  70% of children with TS have ADHD.  OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) of which more than one third of people with TS also have.   26% of children with TS also have ODD (oppositional defiant disorder or CD (conduct disorder).  These all point to symptoms due to a nutritional deficiency.

In 2006

Dr Sharna Olfman, a professor of clinical and developmental psychology warned in her book published in 2006  ‘No Child Left Different’

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) estimates that today, one in ten children and adolescents in the United States “suffers from mental illness severe enough to result in significant functional impairment.”  During this same time period, psychotropic drugs have become the treatment of first choice rather than the treatment of last resort.   Over 10 million children and adolescents are currently on antidepressants and about 5 million children are taking stimulant medications such as ‘Ritalin’.

And now?


We are now a decade on, coming to the year 2017.  How much worse do you think things have got since the above statement?  The Guardian stated recently that “Ritalin and other ADHD drug prescriptions for children have doubled over the last decade!”  If this is true then 20 million youngsters are on antidepressants and 10 million children are taking stimulant medications such as ‘Ritalin’!

Can TS be cured?

For those parents who are stressed out because their child is exhibiting TS and other neurological symptoms, take heart and just have a look at some of these comments from various forums and websites.  Before your doctor prescribes drugs, try natural remedies first.  Drugs should be a last resort:

  • I find it odd that kids with tics, twitches and other signs related to Tourette Syndrome do not seem to be regularly checked for magnesium deficiency. A web page on magnesium in diet from the U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health’s web site clearly notes that muscle twitching is a sign of magnesium deficiency. Yet based on my experience with my son and the experiences of parents who write to me, children with symptoms of tics and muscle twitching who are taken to the doctor are unfortunately not usually asked about their diets or checked for low magnesium levels.
  • I think it is so true that Mg supplements reduce tics. It helped our son for sure. I can’t Doctors don't knowbelieve why the so called experts still don’t seem to have a clue…
  • My son has had tics since he was 8 yrs old and he’s now 13. I’ve tried various things to help but his tics have got steadily worse, especially the vocal tics, everything from sniffing every few seconds to throat clearing and hissing noises. As you can imagine he has been getting very frustrated with this and embarrassed at school. I recently read about the benefits of magnesium and B-complex vitamins so thought I would give them a try and the results have been amazing! He’s only been taking them for a week and already the vocal tics have stopped and has just the ocassional eye twitch, I feel so relieved for him and he seems so much more relaxed. I just thought that I would share my experience with you and hope that it helps other parents.
  • One of my sons had the beginnings of Tourette Syndrome when he was little – eye blinking, facial twitching, eye tics, etc. Our regular doctor didn’t have any advice for us, so I researched my son’s condition using the book library at the local health food store. The indications were that he was low in magnesium, so we changed his diet to get more magnesium rich foods and give him magnesium supplements for a few days crushed in yogurt. It worked great. The tics, twitches and eye blinking all stopped within a few days. We made the diet changes permanent, and for years I never gave the tics another thought. The only other time my son developed tics and twitches was when he was older and went on vacation with friends (without mom around to remind him to eat his vegetables!) and ate junk food for a few days, but the tics and twitches cleared up after he got home and ate healthier foods, including vegetables and nuts, for a few days.
  • One parent emailed me that her child’s vocal tics improved with increased magnesium.Mg glass Many of these kids had been seeing a variety of medical specialists. Some were on prescription medications, yet no one was asking about their diets, which were often described by the parents as very low in healthy foods, especially nuts, beans and vegetables, and foods high in magnesium.

Why is magnesium working?

Have a look at these symptoms (and causes in bold) of Mg deficiency.  The list is manyfold, but here are a few common ones suffered by children, in alphabetical order:

Anger, anxiety, apathy, asthma, constipation, IBS, brain fog, unable to concentrate, confusion, convulsions, depression, drinking alcohol, fatigue, food cravings, gagging or choking on food, headaches, high blood pressure, hyperactivity, hyperventilation, insomnia, irritability, junk food, memory impairment, muscle cramps and spasms, muscle twitching and tics, muscle weakness, numb hands or feet, paranoia, pharmaceutical drugs, PMS, recreational drugs, restlessness, smoking, sensitivity to noise, sodas, stress, sugar, tremor in hands, wheezing.

What you can do now

junkAs you can see from this list, there is something you can do starting today.

  1. Cut out the junk food, kick sodas to the kerb.
  2. Try and find time to cook meals at home so you know what’s in the food.
  3. If you can afford it, use organic produce and avoid GM foods.
  4. Radically decrease sugar intake.
  5. Limit pharmaceutical drugs unless absolutely necessary.
  6. Try to discourage your adolescent child from smoking or drinking alcohol.
  7. Get your doctor on your side.  He/she will likely not recognise the value of nutrition, it’s not taught in medical school.  Ask if you can leave off the drugs and try Mg and B6 (pyridoxine, a coenzyme which aids Mg absorption)
  8. Make sure no junk foods are kept in your fridge or cupboards.  This is hard I know, but kids help themselves to what’s in the house and crisps, sodas, cheap chocolate bars and sugary snacks will exacerbate the condition.  Instead have fresh fruit and nuts for them to snack on.  Good quality chocolate of over 70% cocao is OK in moderation.  This new regime will do you good too as parents!  Lead by example!!
  9. Finally, get yourself and your family a Mg supplement

Mg deficiency test?

Mg tests
Check symptoms here

Your doctor may offer your child a Mg deficiency test, which is always a ‘Total Serum Magnesium Test’.  Unbeknownst to most medics, this test is nigh-on useless.  It generally gives a false positive result.  Because this test is widespread, results from it give a false sense of security with many doctors saying Mg deficiency is rare!!  Educate your doctor and take some evidence with you to let him know that a RBC test is better, although not ideal.  The best test is a buccal cell smear test (EXATest) but they are rarely done, probably because of the cost.

If your child is exhibiting TS, start him/her on a good quality Mg supplement and see the change in them overnight!  Mg Chloride is the best absorbed but it has a bitter salty taste that may need masking for kids.  I put 10ml of my Mg Chloride solution in a glass jug of a litre of water daily.  This gives me 600mg of elemental Mg, which is 100% bioavailable.  I then drink it throughout the day.  Hubbie puts a little cordial in his water of either lime or blackcurrent (no aspartame), as he has delicate tastebuds!   You can find all the best supplements on the side bar of this site.  Mg Citrate powder is tasteless and easily put into soups and other thicker foods and is reasonably well absorbed.  It is common for kids to get constipated and this will relieve that condition gently.  It is also very easy to regulate to just the right dose for your child.

Ches Power Don’t forget, Mg is a completely safe and vital mineral.  Your body needs it for all processes including relaxation, energy production and quality sleep.  It will calm your tight muscles, relax your anxious mind, help you sleep and at the same time produce your energy needs. It is a truly magical and amazing nutrient which 80% of us are deficient in.  Make sure you and your children get yours!!   Ches

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What is Tourettes?
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What is Tourettes?
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18 thoughts on “What is Tourettes?

  1. Hi Andrea, have a look at this article, it may help. Mg Chloride is IN MY HUMBLE OPINION the best Mg supplement because of its high bio-availability. Make sure you always buy food quality if you’re going to ingest it. I have other articles on this site about how this amazing mineral can help you. Take your time to look around!

  2. My son has been diagnosed with TS at the age of 4. He also has ADHD, OCD, and extra genetic material on line 16 “chromosome problem”. He has been prescribed every medication under the sun. Nothing is helping. The vocal and facial tics are very bad. Squeaking every 5 seconds and followed by coughing because it is irritating his throat. He is 8yo and also has high blood pressure and weights 115lbs. Medications have caused bad weight gain. I am at wits end and all the doctors are stumped because nothing has helped. Today I have started him on Magnesium citrate and Calcium in hopes it helps. We will see!! Any other suggestions?

    1. Hi Lori and I’m sorry to hear of your son’s problems. Mg citrate is a good supplement if in powder form because it can be sprinkled on food and it is tasteless. If your son has a little constipation which can be the case with these conditions, it is ideal. As for the Calcium, be careful not to over supplement because Ca is known to cause a Mg deficiency if too much is ingested. Much of the food nowadays is fortified with Ca which can lead to an excess, so it is usually not a necessary supplement. Ca and Mg need to be in balance ie. 1:1. Unfortunately, Mg is low in our modern food and is hardly ever fortified by the food companies.
      By far the best supplement to give your son would be Mg Chloride and if you live in the US, ReMag by Dr Carolyn Dean, is readily available and it is, in my opinion, the best Mg supplement on the market. It is completely bio-available and goes straight to the cells where it is needed. It is bitter to taste so add a touch of cordial (without any sweeteners like aspartame) to the glass of water with the Mg Chloride. I will be very surprised if this supplement doesn’t make a vast difference to your son’s symptoms, please give it a try. You could get your son tested for a Mg deficiency using the RBC test (not the total serum Mg test which is done in hospital and doctors and mostly gives a false negative). You can get a test from ‘request a test’ in the US if you need to know for sure that he is deficient. It used to be $49 but it may have gone up in price. Remember, you cannot overdose on Mg, the worse that will happen is loose stools which is natures way of expelling excess Mg. When Mg supplementing, start low and add slowly. This will also help your son get used to the taste.
      If you can, stop all sodas such as Diet Coke, Sprite etc.. Try and stick to non sweetened drinks, aspartame type sweeteners can really exacerbate symptoms. The only safe one seems to be Stevia. Try and cook all his food yourself, no boxed food or junk food. Cook from fresh and if you can afford it, use organic. No more big macs, avoid chips, cook boiled potatoes or potatoes in jackets, plenty of veggies… I know this will be difficult but you will see a difference. Change things slowly so he doesn’t miss his favourite junk food and drink too much. Good luck and let me know how you get on.
      PS. with all the stress you’re under, you are probably also deficient. It would be good if you and your son both took the supplement, he will probably be pleased to take his ‘medicine’ if Mummy is having it too! If he and you don’t sleep well, this will really help.

  3. Came across this after reading about Le Roy tourette symtoms. With the contamination so close there it is surprising nobody in power was able to do magnesium tissue or at least RBC tests. The link to contamination goes via that magnesium is USED UP when our bodies are detoxing. Exposure to toxins, like lead,mercury, Cadmium and other toxins draw magnesium out of our systems that, when significant enough causes symptoms like tourette syndrom, typically in younger people. In older it instead causes high blood pressure, maybe fibrillation and general calcification due to the shortage of magnesium caused by unusually high toxic loads. But also toxins in our foods from industrial agriculture using toxic weedkillers .

    1. Hi there Sten and thanks for your input and comments. It looks like you already know your stuff and I am gratified to hear from readers that can add their knowledge to this site. Of course, you are right about Mg being readily used up by bodily processes. This amazing mineral has so much to do with so little to do it with, especially in our modern world.

      As pharmaceuticals have taken over allopathic medicine, the important stuff has been left by the wayside. Our bodies are having to deal with toxins from our environment, from our foods, from prescription drugs, from pesticides, herbicides and fungicides, it’s a wonder to me that our bodies cope as well as they do. We are all incredible biological machines which can self repair IF we have the right natural ingredients as fuel. Drugs just don’t cut it and often make matters worse.

      I look forward to the day when doctors are taught more about nutrition and the whole body in preference to pharmaceutical drugs. I fear the pharmaceutical industry is now out of control and corrupted to its core with the food industry not far behind. God help us!

  4. This was a very interesting read.
    It appears that I often encounter people who suffer from TS but I didn’t know that it was named that way.
    As far as I can see this issue becomes more and more common.
    I also didn’t realize that the use of alcohol and drugs can provoke or catalyze this mental disease.

    1. Thanks for your comments Asen. Yes, it is becoming more common as are all neurological problems, at about the same rate as magnesium deficiency is increasing in the population! Ches

  5. Hey Ches,

    Interesting article. It’s amazing how more and more afflictions are being linked to our diet and nutritional deficiencies. All those years of fast food and quick meals is having a toll on humanity.

    It’s also disconcerting how doctors’ primary response is to prescribe drugs. These drugs tend to be long term solutions for these doctors, too! While it may help keep the symptoms of the afflictions in check, who knows what other long lasting negative effects it will have on these people. The doctors also get kickbacks for the drugs they prescribe.

    Your article is an eye-opener and people should read it through to gain better insight before dosing their kids.

    Best Regards,

    1. Hi Jim and thanks for your input. Yes, it would seem quite obvious that the body needs what the body is born with, nutrients, vitamins and minerals. If the body is sick, get these nutrients in balance first before you start administering toxic drugs.

      As for the lack of knowledge, it is scandalous that the medical fraternity does not educate their doctors about the makeup of the human body and what it needs to stay healthy. It certainly doesn’t need a load of toxins which the pharmaceuticals tout to doctors, rewarding them for prescribing their drugs.

      I’m afraid to say Big Pharma, Big Agra and the food manufacturers are corrupt. They have only profits in mind with no regard to the health of the population whom they should be serving not damaging. In fact, we are paying them to inflict harm on us. What a travesty!!

  6. I never heard about TS before but through my life I’ve seen some people acting like you described, I thought that it was a type of mental disorder.
    It’s great to know that there is so much to discover in nature (minerals, vitamins, etc etc) that are ready to help us to balance the quemichal of our bodies.
    Is there a specific kind of Magnesium that you recommend for TS or any Sea Mag will be ok?

    1. Hi Gopika and thanks for your comment. Tourettes often starts in youngsters, with tics like excessive blinking and odd movements and can progress as the child grows. A doctor will usually prescribe a drug which will do nothing to cure the condition and quite often exacerbates it because the drug will diminish magnesium even further, increasing symptoms (apart from the side effects of the drug).

      If you catch it at the first signs and treat with a magnesium supplement it will invariably slowly disappear. I take a magnesium chloride solution daily of 10ml in a litre of water. I then drink this throughout the day. It gives me the equivalent of 600mg of elemental magnesium in ionic form. I have none of my symptoms now, it’s great and it’s natural! There are other forms of magnesium but IMHO this is the best. Mg oxide is not bioavailable (around 4%), Mg citrate is very good and will treat constipation gently (a common symptom of Mg deficiency.) For topical use, the ancient minerals brand is excellent. So in answer to your question, not all Mg supplements are equal!


  7. Hey Ches,
    I am glad that I came across this article because I have suffered from mild tourettes for all of my life. I would have strange tics that made me seem weird in social situations and especially at work.
    It seems very interesting that magnesium is a good supplement that works. I have never considered that proper nutrition helps the condition. It makes sense though because my ticks seem to relax after I eat meals with high nutrition like vegetables and salad.

    1. Hi Anthony and thanks for your input. Why not try a supplement of magnesium, you’ll be pleased you did! Other benefits – more energy, better sleep, calmer mind and clearer thought. Good health to you. Ches

  8. Thanks Chessie for this excellent post!

    A very close family member has TS and many other associated ailments.

    I became very quickly involved in your blog and was immediately focused on your magnesium deficiency solution.

    As you so accurately point out, many doctors have not been ” trained “, in Nutrition ( who would have thought ) …
    such an unimportant subject to waste one’s time on – in the study of the Human Body!

    Nutrition has always been a favorite subject of mine and this blog confirms this.

    Thank you very much for bringing this to my attention.

    I’m off to explore for an exact list of foods high in Magnesium.

    How and why did you get so passionate about Nutrition … and Magnesium in particular?

    I will surely return to read more of your posts.


    1. Hi Paul and thanks for reading the article and your input. Yes, it’s unbelievable that allopathic medical doctors are not taught about what is naturally needed for the human body to stay healthy. If we were all nutritionally replete, the hospitals would be half empty and the doctors would have more time to give to each patient instead of the 10 minutes allotted here in the UK.

      Foods With High Magnesium, will give you a list, keeping in mind that our soils have been depleted in many natural vitamins and minerals because of farming practices such as fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides and ‘Monsanto’! This is why it is difficult to get enough Mg with our modern diet.

      I found Mg by chance whilst trying to find a solution to my late Mum’s many symptoms including aching legs and total body weakness. I realized that the symptoms she had and those that I had too, were the same as Mg deficiency symptoms. It was too late for Mum, she broke her hip and died 3 weeks later. As for myself, I started taking Mg Citrate powder and then found Mg Chloride solution which is the best Mg supplement IMHO. I have been studying Mg ever since and learnt much about other nutrients along the way. I set up this site in the hope that others can benefit from Mg as I have. My health (touch wood) is better than it’s ever been and I’ve been around the block a few times!! Ches

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