Efficacy of a Gluten-Free Diet in the Gilles de la Tourette Syndrome: A Pilot Study

Nutrients. 2018 May 7;10(5):573. doi: 10.3390/nu10050573.


The Gilles de la Tourette syndrome (GTS) and Non-Coeliac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS) may be associated. We analyse the efficacy of a gluten-free diet (GFD) in 29 patients with GTS (23 children; six adults) in a prospective pilot study. All of them followed a GFD for one year. The Yale Global Tics Severity Scale (YGTSS), the Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale—Self Report (Y-BOCS) or the Children’s Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale—Self Report (CY-BOCS), and the Cavanna’s Quality of Life Questionnaire applied to GTS (GTS-QOL) were compared before and after the GFD; 74% of children and 50% of adults were males, not significant (NS). At the beginning of the study, 69% of children and 100% of adults had associated obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) (NS). At baseline, the YGTSS scores were 55.0 ± 17.5 (children) and 55.8 ± 19.8 (adults) (NS), the Y-BOCS/CY-BOCS scores were 15.3, (standard deviation (SD) = 12.3) (children) and 26.8 (9.2) (adults) (p = 0.043), and the GTS-QOL scores were 42.8 ± 18.5 (children) and 64 ± 7.9 (adults) (p = 0.000). NCGS was frequent in both groups, with headaches reported by 47.0% of children and 83.6% of adults (p = 0.001). After one year on a GFD there was a marked reduction in measures of tics (YGTSS) (p = 0.001), and the intensity and frequency of OCD (Y-BOCS/CY-BOCS) (p = 0.001), along with improved generic quality of life (p = 0.001) in children and adults. In conclusion, a GFD maintained for one year in GTS patients led to a marked reduction in tics and OCD both in children and adults.

Keywords: Gilles de la Tourette syndrome (GTS); children and adults; gluten-free diet; motor and vocal/phonic tics; non-coeliac gluten sensitivity (NCGS); obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD); one-year adherence.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diet, Gluten-Free*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / diet therapy
  • Patient Compliance
  • Pilot Projects
  • Pregnancy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Quality of Life
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tics / diagnosis
  • Tics / diet therapy
  • Tourette Syndrome / diet therapy*
  • Young Adult