Tourette’s syndrome is a neurological disorder characterized by repetitive, involuntary movements and vocalizations such as eye blinking, shoulder shrugging, sniffing or grunting sounds. These movements and vocalizations are known as tics and often worsen with excitement and anxiety. The exact cause of Tourette’s syndrome is not known, although family history may play a role. Treatment may involve medications and psychotherapy. Certain supplements such as magnesium may also help manage Tourette’s syndrome.
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Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays a key role in contraction of muscles, functioning of certain enzymes and production and transportation of energy and proteins in the body. It is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body and can be obtained from foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, peas, beans, soy and whole grains. The National Institute of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements recommends 80 to 420 mg of the mineral per day, depending on your age and condition. Apart from diet, magnesium can also be obtained from supplements, which are used to treat a variety of conditions including heart problems, diabetes, high blood pressure and migraine headaches.
Role of Magnesium in Tourette's Syndrome
Magnesium deficiency may be the precipitating event that leads to the symptoms of Tourette’s syndrome, according to an article published in the January 2002 issue of the journal “Medical Hypothesis.” It may also be responsible for conditions associated with Tourette’s syndrome, such as allergies, asthma, ADHD, obsessive compulsive disorder and anxiety. Another study, published in the November 2008 issue of the journal “Medicina Clinica,” states that magnesium and vitamin B-6 therapy is a safe and effective way to reduce the symptoms of Tourette’s syndrome in children. The results of a clinical trial published in the March 2009 issue of the journal “Trials” reaffirms that collateral treatment with vitamin B-6 and magnesium could help control Tourette’s syndrome and side effects associated with it. The researchers, however, suggest that more studies may be required before establishing the benefits of magnesium for Tourette’s syndrome conclusively.
Side Effects of Magnesium
Magnesium supplements are generally safe to use, although overdose may lead to nausea, vomiting, low blood pressure, reduced heart rate and coma. Your doctor can help determine a dose that is right for you. Magnesium supplements may also interfere with certain diabetes and blood pressure medications and antibiotics.
Always talk to a doctor before using magnesium supplements to treat Tourette’s syndrome. This will help avoid the possible adverse reactions and drug interactions. Inform the doctor about your pre-existing conditions and other medications you might be taking.