Understanding the impact of diet and nutrition on symptoms of Tourette syndrome: A scoping review

J Child Health Care. 2018 Mar;22(1):68-83. doi: 10.1177/1367493517748373. Epub 2017 Dec 21.


Anecdotal reports frequently suggest some dietary involvement in the maintenance of tics in children with Tourette syndrome (TS). This scoping review aimed to (1) understand the possible influence of diet as a trigger of tics and (2) map out the existing studies documenting dietary interventions in children with TS. Current evidence suggests no single diet to benefit individuals with TS. However, reports from parents of children with TS suggest that certain allergens in food may exacerbate tic-related symptoms. For example, an increase in tics has been related to the consumption of caffeine and refined sugar. Moreover, oligoantigenic diets and sugar-free diets have been identified as significantly reducing tics. More research is urgently needed to develop more accurate guidance for parents and children with TS, as many have reported using dietary and nutritional supplements, despite the lack of evidence detailing any benefits, side effects and recommended doses.

Keywords: Diet; Tourette disorder; Tourette syndrome; nutrition; tic.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diet, Healthy*
  • Eating / physiology*
  • Female
  • Food Hypersensitivity / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nutritional Status / physiology*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Tic Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Tourette Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Tourette Syndrome / therapy*