as Mrs D has recommended that we should start threads related to specific ailments, I am going to repost the info on The Natural Treatments that have helped my son. I do have my thread at Latitudes linked in our Useful Websites thread, but as it dates from 2004, I figured an updated post was needed....so here goes.....
I have put together what I hope is a simple summary of the Natural Treatment protocol that has helped my son go from severe and debilitating Tourette Syndrome/OCD to symptoms that are now so mild that most people are unaware that he has TS
The improvement was very dramatic, and we saw the effects within just a few days of starting out on this regimin, although for many people it can take a few weeks for the full benefits of supplements to be felt and seen. He was first dx with TS in 2000 aged 10, although we now realise that he exhibited tics from a very young age. We believe the TS is genetic, as my husband came to understand that what were believed to be childhood "habits" that he himself was scolded for, were in fact tics and OCD, and that his dad, who had always been considered eccentric, was in fact also TS/OCD.
I want to stress this treatment protocol has not "cured" my son's TS spectrum of disorders, only made it less invasive and debilitating. From severe to mild. He still waxes and wanes, but the intensity that existed before is diminished
My son was on prescription meds for a year when he was first diagnosed, but he reacted badly to all of them, and had side effects that were so severe and alarming that we finally had to carefully wean him off the meds (with the help of a very special psychiatrist to whom I will always be so grateful for being willing to help me switch to an alternative protocol !)
We then started him on this program which I gradually put together after much research on the Internet and continuous consultation with numerous health care professionals
I must emphasize that, although I have a background in Medical Research, with a postgrad degree in Physiology I am NOT a medical doctor. This is the program that worked specifically for my son, and so I cant claim that it will work for everyone
and I also must stress that we were at all times guided by a team of knowledgable doctors. I urge everyone to work with a qualified physician!
I would additionally like to clarify that I am NOT "anti-prescription medication"
I recognise that these meds have a vital and freqently life saving function, and also that many people with TS find great benefit from them.
My philosophy is more that medications have their place and for our family, that is more a last resort as we now tend to first try a more natural approach to all illness. I also feel that this attitude makes us less resistant to the drugs when they are really needed (eg antibiotics)
The treatment regimin involves mainly supplements
(vitamins, minerals, herbs and certain amino acids)
The effectiveness of this treatment was enhanced by detoxification
from heavy metals (in his case, mercury) and controlling yeast overgrowth(candida) in his digestive tract.
We also found that artificial foods
were big tic triggers for him (coloring, sweeteners like Nutrasweet ie aspartame and Splenda ie sucralose, MSG, preservatives and high fructose corn syrup)
We ran allergy
tests and did a process of food elimination, but he doesnt have any natural food allergies per se, only mild p-nut sensitivity so we avoid those.
For some folks tho, things like dairy, wheat(gluten) etc can be allergens and so intensify tics, OCD etc
My son was also able to identify other tic triggers
that he has such as chlorine (he avoids pools now) and dustmite, mold etc and also most strong smells like in perfumes, and some household cleaners, air fresheners etc (some of this is probably related to his hypersensitivity to sensory things..ie taste, smell, touch, sight and sounds) Occupational therapy
made a big improvement in his sensory issues from the Sensory Integration Dysfunction
that so many folks with TS etc seem to have....tho he still removes all labels from inside clothing and wears his sox inside out as the seams in clothes drive him nuts
There is an excellent article at Latitudes on Tic Triggers
has greatly benefitted him too, as has reflexology
(we do NOT use neurofeedback)
In addition he sees a NUCCA trained chiropractor
who uses gentle pressure methods to help reallign him, as ticcing frequently causes skeletal misalignment with resultant neuromuscular problems which cause pain and can even trigger more tics too! ( http://www.nucca.org
He also had very effectiveCognitive Behavioural Therapy
for the OCD,
In addition we tested for PANDAs
(negative) and Pyroluria
(not an issue) as these can also be conditions that exsacerbate tics, OCD etc
In addition to the psychiatrist that I mentioned before, we saw an INTEGRATIVE medical doctor (trained conventionally, but specialised in natural medicine) who also referred us to the other healthcare specialists and they all had input on my son's testing and treatment.
The OCD, depression, anxiety and other mood issues that frequently accompany Tourette Syndrome were always the most troubling for him, and the improvement that the supplements like primarily 5HTP, Inositol and Vitamin B6 have made there are remarkable! (It is not a good idea to mix some of these with serotonin elevating (SSRI) meds tho, so do note that!)
I based a lot of his supplements on Bonnie Grimaldi's research
. She now has her own products, BonTech on the market which many people use with great success for tics ( www.BonnieGr.com
) but we maintained the combinations that I put together initially for my son, under guidance from the healthcare professionals, as it WORKED and so I was reluctant to change anything. However, I know that Bonnie's range of supplements have been very effective for many people
Here is our basic program
(The doseage of the supps depends on age and body weight so I have not included it here as it will vary with these parameters for each individual)
*1 multivitamin/mineral (the multi has all the good antioxidants,and other RDA supplements and is high in the B group vits, and I add an extra B1 and B12
( IMPORTANT NO COLOR, FLAVOR OR FILLER IN THE MULTI!! )
*1 combo essential fatty acid supp containing flaxseed, borage and evening primrose oil
( My son is sensitive to fishoil, as some people with TS are, but if you tolerate it, it is good to also use that, he does eat a lot of fresh fish tho)
*1 Royal Jelly
*2 ginko biloba(for ADD)
*1 Inositol/vitamin B6 combo (for OCD & tics)
*1 St Johns Wort (for OCD)
in the evening he gets
*1 5HTP/vitamin B6 (for OCD)
*1 Methionine or sam-E(for OCD)
*1 calcium/magnesium/zinc combo( main tic reducer)
*1 taurine (main tic reducer)
*1 GrapeSeed PLUS extract Boosts immune system and seems to also promote restful sleep. The blend I use also contains Bilberry for his vision as well as other essential antioxidants)
When he is run down he also gets co-enzyme Q, and if we notice anxiety up I add GABA)
He used to take L-carnitine, which many folks find very beneficial for tic reduction and relaxation, but lately he seems to get edgy from it so we discontinued it.
Certain of my son's tics were clearly interlinked with his OCD, and this was especially so with injurious ones. The psychiatrist who was working with him at the time educated us about this interaction between OCD and Tourettes, and also about ENDORPHINS, the "feel good" chemicals naturally secreted by our brains when we experience pain. Sometimes repetitive injurious "tics" can be stimulating endorphins and so the patient keeps doing them because of this natural high. The amino acid phenylalanine, in its D form, promotes endorphin release and my son was on this for a while. It totally stopped these self injurious "tics" It isnt easy to find D-phenylalanine, but the DL-phenylalanine is more widely available. Please note that where just the L form helps with depression, it is the D form that is needed for the endorphin release.
A very good way to also increase endorphins is excercise.
I should also point out that some people may tic more from phenylalanine. This was not so for my son, but it needs to be noted
As a bonus, we were delighted when my son's ADD also became negligible after we started the suppplement treatment!
I stress again,ESPECIALLY if you are ON MEDS, it is a good idea to talk to a physician before adding or combining any of these supplements as interactions can occur which can be serious.
Here is an excellent site for reading up on the various supps, drug interactions etc
I will be happy to try to answer any questions, and I hope this info may be helpful for someone out there who needs it.
ps I do need to mention that my son has recently (2006) been diagnosed with Crohn's Disease (although he has likely had it for quite some time but just been misdiagnosed) I have therefore modified his diet and supplements to incorporate more anti-inflammatories and less immune boosters. I have posted a separate thread on the AutoImmune forum here at NT on just which supplements and dietary changes are helping with the Crohn's. http://neurotalk.psychcentral.com/showthread.php?t=9831