Tics -- sudden movement or utterances -- are not all that unusual in children and can be caused by a variety of sources. Those include allergy, vitamin deficiencies, mental health issues and Tourette syndrome. While not all tics can be treated with diet, those caused by allergy or a vitamin deficiency can be stopped by removing offending foods from your child's diet.
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A tic is defined as a sudden, uncontrollable muscle movement, according to MayoClinic.com. A simple tic is one in which you have just one movement, such as rapidly blinking your eyes or twitching your lip. Complex tics involve more than just an involuntary movement and include hopping, arm flapping and touching the surroundings. Tics related to diet are usually simple.
Deficiencies in some vitamins can lead to motor tics in children. An early symptom that you are deficient in magnesium is muscle twitches and tremors, according to the National Institutes of Health. Magnesium can be taken in a supplement or by adding more dark, leafy vegetables to your child's diet. Vitamins B12, B1 and B6 work to stabilize and build the nervous system. Deficiencies in those vitamins can lead to tremors and tics. Add whole and fortified grains to your child's diet to get enough of those vitamins. Other sources include dairy products and meat. Vegetarian children may need to use supplements. You doctor can help diagnose a deficiency through a blood test.
Allergies can lead to motor tics in some children. Allergens such as dairy, gluten, artificial sweeteners and highly processed foods may cause your child's tics to worsen. Although the experts at Planet Tic say that more research is necessary to draw conclusions between diet and tics, many parents have found success through keeping a food journal to track the effects of certain foods on the tics.
Not all tics are Tourette syndrome or require dietary intervention. Many may just be your child's way of coping with stress and anxiety. As many as one in five children will have a tic during childhood, according to an article in "Child Health Monitor," although nearly all of them outgrow it as they get older.
If your child's tics interfere with his daily life or are potentially dangerous, seek help from a health-care provider before attempting any dietary intervention.