Patterns of Nutritional Supplement Use in Children with Tourette Syndrome
Very little is known about the use of nutritional supplements in children with Tourette syndrome. The current study aimed to address the frequency of nutritional supplements and the use of special diets in children with Tourette syndrome and typically developing children. Additional data also sought to address the motivations behind using them, their cost and perceived benefits. A total of 76 responses from an anonymous online survey (Tourette syndrome=42; typically developing=34) were completed and analyzed. Fifty-six per cent of children with Tourette syndrome compared to 15% of typically developing children were currently taking nutritional supplements, with the majority take two or more. Thirty-five per cent of the Tourette syndrome compared to 6% typically developing were currently or had previously adopted a special diet. Supplements most used for children with TS included probiotics, omega-3, multivitamins and magnesium. For children with TS, supplementation often began around the age of eight, for a duration on average of 35months. The average cost was £32.44 a month compared to £8.25 for typically developing children. Seventy-five per cent of supplement users in the Tourette syndrome group noted improvement, mainly in motor and vocal tics, sleep quality and anxiety reduction. Most caregivers learned of supplements through the Internet. In almost 42% of the Tourette syndrome group, their pediatrician was unaware of the supplement use and this rose to 65% for special diets. Given the popularity of nutritional supplements, more research on the effectiveness and safety of such interventions is crucial.