Neurological disorders like Tourette’s Syndrome are becoming more commonplace in our society today because of poor diet and environmental toxins. A visitor has the following question:
I have 2 nephews that are showing signs of Tourettes. They are ages 11 and 4. They are very fussy eaters and have a very poor diet. Hot dogs, pizza, sugary snacks always. Eggos, no veggies and so on. What can I do to help them that is natural and I can do at home? ~ Jackie
Although your willingness to help your nephews is commendable, unfortunately since you are their aunt and won’t be able to enforce the changes needed on a daily basis, you’re not likely to see improvements with any steps you may take. His family would have to make these changes and they would need to be permanent lifestyle changes. If your nephews are eating healthier at your house but going home to their junk food diet and toxins, then they won’t make progress. However, you could try and educate his family so they would be willing to make the necessary changes.
Tourette’s Syndrome, also known as Tourette’s Disorder is a neurological disorder, which means it originates in the brain and/or the nervous system. It is believed it may be caused by a malfunctioning in the way the brain uses its neurotransmitters, particularly dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, histamine, gaba and/or glutamate. Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that transmit information from one nerve cell to another and play a crucial role in learning, behavior, mood, memory, sleep, pain perception and sexual desire. It is the brain’s communication system. The unusual and uncontrollable sounds and movements that occur with Tourette’s are a clear indication that something in the brain is not functioning properly.
Imbalances and malfunctioning of neurotransmitters is extremely common in our society, although it is rarely heard about. When you hear someone saying that a health condition is caused by a “chemical imbalance,” what they are referring to are neurotransmitters. Not only are they connected to Tourettes, but they are also often at the root of depression, anxiety disorders, obsessive compulsive disorders, addiction, autism, chronic pain, fatigue, hyperactivity, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s eating disorders, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel, impulse control ,schizophrenia, aggression and many other conditions.
Although sometimes neurotransmitter abnormalities can be genetic and one may be born with them, they may also occur later in response to a variety of other situations. Other factors that alter, ramp us, inhibit, disrupt, or deplete neurotransmitters are a diet lacking in adequate animal protein, a diet high in sugar, white flour and other refined junk food, caffeine, nicotine, alcohol and drugs, excessive ongoing stress, nutritional deficiencies or imbalances, Candida overgrowth, SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) food allergies or sensitivities, child abuse and neglect, brain trauma like a concussion, and environmental toxins like pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals and other endocrine disruptors that are found in common everyday chemicals.
In traditional main stream medicine, they treat neurotransmitter issues with drugs, which only perpetuates the problem even more. In natural medicine, neurotransmitters are brought into balance with changes in diet and lifestyle and possible amino acid therapy combined with other essential nutrients needed to make them function properly and Tourette’s Syndrome has been treated successfully with this approach.
Amino acids are the building blocks for neurotransmitters and derived from the protein we eat. Most of society does not consume enough animal protein because they typically live on a junk food diet that is void of nutritional value, which is one of the biggest contributors to problems with neurotransmitters.
Steps to Restore Neurotransmitter Balance
The following steps have been found to be helpful not only for those with Tourette’s Syndrome, but anyone with a condition that is related to neurotransmitter imbalances or malfunctioning.
- No sugar
- No caffeine
- No white flour or other refined foods
- No artificial sweeteners
- No grains and legumes
- Identify and address food allergies and food sensitivities
- Eat organic
- Clean up the environment in your home. There is nothing more harmful to the human brain than pesticides and herbicides. Avoid pesticides and herbicides. Replace personal care products and cleaning supplies with environmentally friendly non-toxic product. No air fresheners, perfume or cologne.
- Assess for heavy metal toxicity and address accordingly.
- Identify nutritional deficiencies and replenish with supplementation and diet. On the other hand, sometimes it is an excess of a particular nutrient, like copper, that can be at the root of Tourette’s and other mental health disorders.
- Nutritional supplementation including vitamin c, vitamin B, niacin, zinc, magnesium, vitamin E and selenium has been helpful for those with Tourette’s. Sometimes intravenous vitamin therapy is more effective. However, if possible, it’s always best to have testing for nutritional deficiencies or imbalances rather than random supplementation.
- Identify hypoglycemia and eat a diet that addresses this issue.
- Explore the possibility of Candida overgrowth and SIBO take the necessary steps to reduce.
- The Paleolithic Diet.
It’s also important to note that not only with Tourette’s disorder but any health condition, there is not a one size fits all treatment approach, because we are all unique biochemically. What may be causing Tourette’s for one person may be different for another. For example, one child may have deficiencies in one particular amino acid or B vitamin while another child may have a deficiency in a handful of amino acids and B vitamins. One child may have a malfunctioning occurring in the inhibitory neurotransmitters, while another child may have a problem in the excitatory neurotransmitters.
There’s also a great book called, Is this your child, by Doris Rapp, it is written for children with ADHD, but since many of their symptoms overlap with someone who has Tourette’s Syndrome, most of what in this book would still apply to this situation. This may be a good first step that you could give to your nephew’s family to try and educate them.