Category Archives: Health

Battling Influenza

I’ve been out fighting a form of Influenza. Don’t know which numbers and letters—N3H2, N1H1…A, B—but it was a hard-fought battle and I remained victorious.

Thankfuknight battle buglly it wasn’t a life or death struggle. I was blessed to not develop any bacterial infections. I’d like to think it’s because I’m a preventative kind of person, but it might just be dumb luck.

I know you’re asking why I didn’t get an annual flu shot. I did, but since I got mine in November it wore off before this beast attacked. FYI: flu shots are effective for ninety days only.

Here’s more than you ever wanted to know about influenza and flu shots. If you don’t care, skip down to the important stuff.

pink cat nurseAnnual Flu Vaccines: My take on these is they are a very good thing. I request the single-dose shots as they aren’t preserved with thimerasol, which is a form of mercury, like the multi-dose vials.

There’s a plethora of material saying thimerasol mercury is a different form of mercury, and won’t hurt people. I am not a chemist, but I do have common sense so when manufacturers have taken thimerasol out of contact solutions and children’s vaccines I have to ask, “Why if it’s safe?”

The CDC says thimerasol is removed under their better-safe-than-sorry policy. I think that’s wonderful. Especially since at times I feel there’s a certain amount of collateral damage acceptable in the U.S. regarding drugs marketed for human use. Right now I’d like to send a huge heartfelt thanks out to the CDC for their interest in pharmaceutical safety. Thanks, CDC!

For more information on thimerasol, check out FAQ’s About Thimerasol from the CDC website.

Other flu shot ingredients.

Aluminum salts. I never condone putting excess harmful chemicals in the body. While I won’t buy foods with aluminum in them as preservatives, I feel use in vaccines—which are a few doses given over a lifetime—is acceptable as vaccine benefits greatly outweigh the risks.

Formaldehyde. This is a non-issue to me. Why? I’ve read when the serum is processed the formaldehyde is “cooked” out leaving hardly a trace. Even if this isn’t 100% accurate at least 21 of our most popular fruits and vegetables have naturally occurring formaldehyde. Actually, the coffee I’m drinking right now probably has more formaldehyde than the flu shot I had last fall.

Here’s a link for more information on vaccine ingredients: Vaccine Safety.

sick mouseThere are two prevalent types of influenzas affecting humans: A and B. Of the Influenza A, humans get N1H1 and N3H2. FYI: There are 18 different N’s and 11 different H’s—Influenza B is coded differently—but currently the other letter combinations affect only animals.

Annual flu shots include serum for three to four strains each year: N1H1, N3H2 of Influenza A, and one or two viruses from Influenza B. You can check out more about influenza viruses here.

My insurance company picks up all the cost of a flu shot. If it didn’t, I’d still pay the $30 cost out of my pocket. Only next year—after talking with a friend who happens to be a nurse—I’ll be getting mine in early to mid-December.

homeworkHomework: Research which months have the heaviest flu outbreaks in your area of the world and coordinate your flu shot for the 90 days covering it. No one can predict 100% perfectly, but you’ll have a good chance of being protected.

I also know you’re asking, “Did you go to the doctor?” No. Here’s why.

  • I didn’t really know it was the flu until almost forty-eight hours had passed. When you’re really sick you lose track of time.
  • I was dizzy the first forty-eight hours so probably shouldn’t be operating a motor vehicle anyway.
  • It’s a viral infection which usually has to run its course.
  • flu germSitting around the doctor’s office can expose me to more viruses while I’m trying to fight off one already. Yes, my doctor’s office has masks to wear if you are sick, but I’m skeptical of their effectiveness. One study on masks shows that use of masks alone did not stop catching the flu, but masks use with hand washing did. Facemasks, Hand Hygiene, and Influenza.
  • The only thing the doctor can do for Influenza with no bacterial infections is to prescribe Tamiflu. Tamiflu has to be administered in the first two days of symptoms. Doctors can’t agree on whether Tamiflu works or not.

Now you’re asking, “So Patti, what do you do to recover from the flu?” You’re not? Sorry, I’m telling you anyway. It’s for your own good.

Let’s talk in the order of symptom severity.


I never run a high temp when I’m sick, even with influenza. No, I’m not lying; that’s just how my body responds.

I know people who run temps high enough I’d freak out, but they say it’s normal for them. And they live to tell about it repeatedly so it must be true.

Even with a low-grade temp if I’m sick enough I have chills. Last week I tried to let my body use the fever to fight off the virus, but after a few nights of no sleep because I felt so rotten, I broke down and cracked open the ibuprofen bottle. I slept better.


coughProbably the best cough remedy I’ve ever used was suggested by  a dear friend in India. Ginger root. Yep, it’s better than cough drops by a long shot. In India they chew straight ginger root. Being an American girl, and too much of a wuss to go for the hard stuff, I suck on crystallized/candied ginger.

honeyRemember your grandma saying to drink tea with honey when you’re sick? She was right. According to a government study, honey in tea before bed is more effective than over-the-counter cough suppressants. Click here to view the study.

A miscellaneous note on cough meds.

Suppressants stop the cough, but also don’t let you cough up mucus so it sits in your lungs where it can fester.

Expectorants loosen mucus and encourage coughing it up.

If I have a productive cough—coughing up mucus—I don’t take either. If I do use something, it’s usually only expectorants unless I’m in desperate need of sleep then I use a suppressant, but only at night and only for a short while.


Try chicken noodle soup. Yep, Grandma was right again.

Remember gargling chicken noodle soupwith salt water to heal throat abrasions from coughing? I agree; it’s nasty. I couldn’t do it this time around. It made me gag, and I had sore abdominal muscles from coughing so gagging was not a fun place to go. Here enters chicken noodle soup. Part of its magic is the salt in the broth. See where I’m going with this? I knew you would, you’re smart that way.

Plus hot chicken noodle soup breaks up mucus and has valuable nutrition you need when sick. I’ve included an easy recipe at the bottom. Yep, easy enough you can make it when you’re sick.

Menthol chest rub, like Vicks, works great for breaking up mucus caught in lungs. I swear by the stuff. I truly believe using this goes a long way to keeping pneumonia at bay. I also slather it on my throat if it’s sore and wrap a three- to four-inch-wide section of old t-shirt around it.lemon-lime soda

Try lemon-lime soda with ice. I hardly ever drink soda; I’m a water girl myself. But when you’re sick sometimes straight water just doesn’t do it. Not only does it not sit well on a stomach already filled with mucus drainage, it tastes blah. I drank at least six liters of diet lemon-lime soda when I was sick last week. It felt great on my sore throat and kept me hydrated.

Popsicle are good also because they have sugar for energy, cold for throat relief, and will help you stay hydrated.


When I have a serious cough, coconut oilnot only does my throat get scratchy, but so do the insides of my ears. Sometimes so badly I can’t sleep. A drop of coconut oil in each ear gives immediate relief. Coconut oil is anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, and anti-fungal so it’s safe. I run hot water over the outside of the container to thin my coconut oil in the winter.


Sometimes my nose gets so dry it hurts. There is a sinus saline gel. It comes in a tube. I put a tiny squeeze on a cotton swab and circle the inside of each nostril. Two cotton swab ends, two nostrils. Funny how that worked out.

If your flu is over and you still have cold symptoms or just a cold, my pharmacist recommended this and it really helps to keep sinus infections away.

Sinus Infection Prevention.

Suck on Altoids (or other mints made with real oil of peppermint,  but not imitation peppermint). Use saline nose spray as recommended on bottle for as many days as you need. The mints and spray will keep your sinuses clear. I write my name on my saline with a marker and keep it handy, even just for a dry winter nose without a virus.

Now that we’ve talked about things you can do to stay out of the hospital if you get influenza, here’s a handy shopping list you can highlight and print off.

TIP: Find a shopping bag/cardboard box/something to store your “sick” supplies in after you buy them in October. Store the frozen items in the freezer; just sayin’. When you feel crappy with the flu, you’ll thank me for this tip. And if you’re blessed enough to not get sick, you can use the items that won’t keep until next time over the spring and summer.


  • Ibuprofen
  • crystalized/candied ginger
  • honey
  • tea (chamomile or passion flower encourage sleep)
  • menthol chest rub (our $1 store carries it)
  • lemon-lime soda
  • popsicles
  • coconut oil and ear dropper
  • saline sinus gel
  • saline sinus spray
  • Oil of Peppermint mints
  • Chicken Noodle Soup Ingredients
    • powdered chicken base
    • 1-2 cans of chicken
    • 12 oz. bag of peas and carrots
    •  Amish/kluski noodles

Easy chicken noodle

I hope this helps you and your loved ones the next time they are attacked by the influenza bug.

Have a great week-end, and thanks again for following Patti’s Pathways. 😀

DISCLAIMER: Any and all ideas presented in this blog are solely my own. On any health related blogs, I am merely giving advice that seems logical to me after research and investigation. At no time, have I suggested or implied that I hold any medical degrees or certificates related to nutrition, psychological, pharmaceutical, or medical health.



Food Additives and Preservatives

I’m straying far from my computer how-to genre this week. Bear with me. It’s for your own good. Yes, I do sound like your mother. But, it’s a new year, and a great time to think about your health.

1950's Family DinnerFifty years ago, there was no need to worry about what was in our food. Much of the food came from nearby farms or cities, plus not many  preservatives or additives were used.

Go into any grocery store today and find a package of your favorite food with less than three to five ingredients you can’t pronounce. Tough, isn’t it?

Never fear. Even though we’ve got a long way to go, things are getting better due to vigilant purchasers refusing to buy unhealthy foods for themselves and their families.

I’ve been researching food additives and preservatives for years. You’d be amazed at how food additives can affect our health. Sometimes in ways we can’t fathom. Check out my blog Tourette’s Syndrome and the Effect of Sweeteners.

TIP: If you or a family member has reactions that seem to be unexplainable (headaches, emotional and anger issues, attention problems, and more), research foods. Someone else has probably dealt with the same thing. If you can’t find anything helpful, it’s time to be your own detective by watching foods ingested two to six hours before the onset of symptoms.

I’ve been told my diligence in avoiding certain additives and preservatives is over-cautious, but I plan to live a long, productive life so over-cautious works for me.

In this blog, I’m only providing information. You’ll need to come to your own conclusions, and weigh how much effort you want to put into researching the food you buy.

food label readWhy do I care what’s in the foods I buy?

1) Many additives and preservatives used in the United States are  banned in Europe. Think about that one.

Why? I don’t know, but it wouldn’t surprise me since they have social medicine, their governments don’t want to pay for treatments of cancers caused by foods.

2) It is proven certain additives and preservatives adversely affect behavior in children. If these make such a difference in how children act, can they be healthy for the general public?

I’ve come to the determination you can’t stay away from every additive and preservative. Because they’re in nearly every food around us—I do shop my organic grocers often—it makes the most sense for me to focus on those suspected of causing cancer.

Researchers code additives and preservatives as H = hyperactivity, A = asthma, and C = cancer. We’re going to worry about the C’s today.

Yes, I’ve heard laboratory tests use concentrated dosages of a substance to incite cancer growth. Do I care? No. Why? Studies show the effect of the H (hyperactivity) and the A (asthma) on people in normal dosages. Can the C (cancer) be far behind?

cellI’ve also heard everyone has cancer cells in their bodies, some people just don’t battle them effectively. That’s not true. We all have damaged cells, not cancer cells. Our cells police themselves. If a cell is too damaged it will either repair or kill itself.

Jennifer Loros, Ph.D, a professor of biochemistry and genetics at Dartmouth medical school says, “Everyone has cells that have mutant proteins from DNA damage, but to say that that’s cancer would be alarmist.” She also says, “Cancer can occur when the normal checkpoints in the cell cycle are misregulated somehow and the [damaged] cell starts dividing.”

Today’s Computer Tip:  Aren’t you happy there’s one in this blog?

You can easily search the internet for additives and preservatives that trigger H (hyperactivity) and A‘s (asthma). Copy and paste a table list into a database program like MS Excel. Then you can sort your data. I sorted mine by “C”.

FYI: European labels note their preservatives using numbers so don’t be confused with this in your web searches. Most lists are sorted by number.
Europe rating

I’ve included a printable list for your wallet at the end of this blog with my recommendations, but here’s what I’ve found on additives and preservatives.

  • All added colors, except caramel and greens, have caused cancers in the laboratories.

I know. It’s nearly impossible to stay away from colorings. Just be aware that food producers are starting to use natural colorings, like turmeric. And there are some products you can buy  now without colorings; I’m specifically thinking of Gatorade’s line of clear drinks.

  • Be aware of the below C causing additives and preservatives and try to avoid them.

Aluminum, BHT/BHA, benzoic acid, biphenol/diphenol, camauba wax, carrageenan, chlorine/chlorine dioxide, cyclamic acid/cyclamate, formic acid, magnesium sulphate, orthophenyl phenol, polysorbate, polyxyl/polyxyethylene stearate, potassium acesulphame, potassium bromate, propyl gallate, insoluble polyvinylpyrrolidone (wine, beer, pharmaceuticals), saccharine, and talc.

  • Stay away from all polysorbates, (other sorbates are not C’s), nitrites, and nitrates. They’re all C’s.

NOTE: I found after this article was published potassium sorbate and calcium sorbate are preservatives which are H’s and A’s, but not C’s. However, all polysorbates are C’s. I’ve updated the wallet cheat sheet below.

  • Be aware that chewing gums use petroleum jelly, white mineral oil, and paraffin, which are C’s.

Notice I haven’t list MSG? Why?

NO MSGResearch is divided on MSG. It’s definitely an H and an A, but researchers are split on the C.

What do I do? I steer clear of MSG. If I purchase a product with it by mistake, I don’t freak. No one in my family gets headaches or other immediately hazardous reactions.

In the USA, food manufacturers hide MSG on labels due to the bad press it received.

  • MSG is currently hidden in lists as natural flavors, yeast extracts, hydrolyzed proteins, glutamic acid and caseinate.

Another giveaway are the flavor enhancers disodium guanylate and disodium inosinate. In themselves, they aren’t dangerous, but they are almost always exclusively used with MSG since they themselves do nothing for flavor.

If a label says No MSG, it’s safe from MSG.

dairyOn a side note, I’m dairy intolerant so I carry a second list. Dairy intolerance is different from lactose intolerance. Lactose is specifically milk related; dairy is dairy related.

Hidden Food Label Dairy Ingredients:
*Casein/casinates * Hydrolysates *Lactalbumin/lactoglobulin/lactitol momhydrate *Nisin preparation * Nougat * Quark * Recaldent * Rennet * Simplesse * Whey *
May have milk: *Artificial flavorings * Caramel flavoring * High protein flour * rice cheese * soy cheese *

NOTE: If a label says Vegan or Dairy-free, it’s safe. If it says Non-dairy, it’s usually not. Non-dairy means no milk, but they frequently use dairy proteins as preservatives.

I’m blessed to not go into anaphylaxis. If I eat a bit of dairy, I get normal allergy symptoms: stuffy nose, watery eyes, headache, and itching of my nose plus other places people do not want to see me scratch. If I eat a lot of dairy, my muscles and joints ache as if I have a virus. Milk or dairy is poison to the body that can’t tolerate it.

I hope this post has given you information to make good food choices. Have a safe week, and thanks again for visiting Patti’s Pathways 😀

Wallet Cheat Sheet:
Note: If the back “Don’t cause cancer” says “other” in front, this means there’s at least one additive listed on the front with a similar name that does cause cancer.
additive cheat sheet





DISCLAIMER: Any and all ideas presented in this blog are solely my own. On any health related blogs, I am merely giving advice that seems logical to me after research and investigation. At no time, have I suggested or implied that I hold any medical degrees or certificates related to nutrition, psychological, pharmaceutical, or medical health.

Cell Phones for Teens and Tweens

presentsSince the holidays are gift giving at its best, I know a lot of teens and tweens will be receiving cell phones.

Parents, aunts, and uncles…listen up!

Here’s a few important things to consider before gifting a cell phone.

This post is going to make me quite unpopular with the younger crowd, but I’d rather that than have them in danger. As their parent, you should be in this mindset also. If you aren’t, get there…now!

cellphone iconKids think of their cell phone as personal property so it’s off-limits to moms and dads, right? Wrong.

Think of it more like a car. Here’s the keys. you can use it, but I check the gas and where you’ve taken it.

It’s okay to check what your child’s been texting or tweeting, but tell them upfront they’re subject to snap inspections.

If you want to institute this kind of rule later, after a teen’s had their phone a while, sit down and talk it over with them. You’d be surprised; they’ll probably understand.

Oh, you’ll still get the proverbial shock initially.

“Don’t you trust me?”

Your answer to this? “Honey, cell phones are a tremendous responsibility. I love you too much to put you in danger. I’d feel horrible if anything happened to you because of a gift I gave you.” Practice this sentence two to twenty times (or more) until you’re comfortable with it.

Instead, your child might act the part of the angry rebel. If so, your approach is different.

“Man, you’re such a _________ _________[insert inappropriate names here]!”

Here’s your answer, “Um. I’m sorry you think that. I’ll be keeping your cell phone until you apologize.”

I know. I’ve read the news, too. Being a teen or tween is an emotional rollercoaster. Teens have committed suicide because parents take away cell phones. These poor kids probably were never told no, or how much they were loved and needed. Don’t make this mistake.

If you’re not sure how your teen/tween will respond. hold off on snap inspections, spend more time with your child, and fix the communications problem first.

Alligator thumbs upIDEA: Instead of working an extra two hours every few weeks, take your kid (or kids) to a movie. You won’t need to talk much — the usher will shush you if you do — and you’ll toss a huge wrench into your kids’ work-is-more-important-than-me mentality.

Set it up like a date. “Hey, Sam. How about I pick you up from school, and we go out for pizza and a movie next Thursday?”

Schedule it just like you would a business meeting or you’ll be tempted to skip it. And don’t be shy about telling co-workers or your boss you have a date with your kid. Your idea might just rub off on them. If the boss is less than enthusiastic, tell them even though you can’t work late tonight, you’ll be in early tomorrow.

You won’t believe the awesome dividends time with your kid pays. FYI: the next installment of The Hobbit comes out December 17. You can get tickets in advance any time.  😀

When is a kid old enough for a cell phone?girl with package

It’s more about responsibility and maturity levels than an actual age number.

Lori Evans, MD, director of training in psychology at the NYU Child Study Center, says. “Look for the developmental signs. Does your child lose his belongings? Is he generally a responsible kid? Can you trust him? Will he understand how to use the phone safely? The rate at which kids mature varies — it will even be different among siblings.”

What kind of phone to buy?

Younger children need only the basics: no texts, internet access, games, etc.  For now, their phone is about safety, not socializing. If you’re handing down your old phone, turn off these features.

Older children (a.k.a. high schoolers) can be allowed more bells and whistles.

Tips for Parents with “Cell Phone Kids”

Follow me here. I have a lot of tips, but they are all important. Don’t be afraid.

Tip One: Cell Phone Station

Station a basket or a cell phone charging center in a public area of your home. If you set it up by the front door noone forgets the phones when they leave.

Everyone — e.v.e.r.y.o.n.e., you too Mom and Dad — puts their powered-down cell phones in the basket for the night. Or if it’s a charging station, plugs them in.

Why? Cell phones taken to the bedrooms encourage texting and talking when adults and children should be sleeping. Did you know sleep-deprived drivers are as dangerous or worse than drunk drivers? Now you do.

Tdoctorshe only exception is a parent who is a nurse, doctor, firefighter, policeman, or other life-saving career person. They can keep their phone near at night, but not too near. See Tip Six.

By the way, life-saving career parents, thanks. 🙂

Tip Two: No GPS Tracker

Skip the GPS tracker on the phone. Unless your kids have shown dangerous and untrustworthy behavior, you don’t need it.

If it were me, I’d let them know I trust them enough to not use phone GPS; you’d be surprised at the child’s self-esteem boost. The downside of this is a lot of stolen phones have been located due to GPS. Talk it over with your kid. Decide together.

Tip Three: Be a Role Model

Be your kids’ number one role model. If you don’t check your texts or messages during __________ [fill in the blank: dinner, theatre, store], they won’t either.

Tip Four: Define Acceptable ActionsHelp

Kids are all about rules. They need guidelines. Help them out and give them some.

  • No gossiping. Gossiping is anything meant to hurt someone else whether it’s true or not.
  • No cyberbullying.
  • No talking to strangers…even if they sound nice.
  • No sending inappropriate photos of themselves to anyone.
  • No sending or posting photos of others without their permission.

Why? Sometimes kids don’t have the loving family yours does. A non-custodial parent might steal a child if they knew where they were. With court approval, these children’s locations are kept secret. They’re in kind of a witness relocation program, only for kids.

Tip Five: Set Limits

Set texting limits, talking limits, any limits you see fit. If your teen goes over the agreed limits, let him or her pay the extra cost. Actually, standard — in my mind there are no normal people, only standard and non-standard — high schoolers should be able to pay for all or some of their phone bill unless you have a reward system worked out, like grades for phones.

radiation symbolTip Six: Limit Radiation Exposure

This tip goes in the “Better Safe Than Sorry” column. Even though the studies are controversial, cell phones do give off a certain amount of radiation, no matter how slight. It’s best to keep radiation exposure to heads and reproductive organs to a minimum.

  • Use headsets. There are wired or wireless/bluetooth.
  • Don’t let your kids sleep with their phones under their pillows. See Tip One.
  • Don’t carry phones in front pockets. Studies show radiation can affect reproductive organs.

Tip Seven: Cyberbullying

Social interaction can be a positive thing. It can also be incredibly destructive. Cyberbullying is a real threat to our children. Many beautiful and talented teens have taken their own lives because they were cyberbullied to the point of no return.

Make certain you tell your kids how much you love them often and how important they are to family and friends. And ask periodically if they’re being harassed or sent nasty text messages. Then do something about it. Don’t ignore it. Sometimes a child can think they’re being bullied when it’s not the case, but the impact on that child’s mental health is no less real. Take it seriously.

Tip Seven A:

Parents! Pay Attention! Watch for signs your children are cyberbullies. Even sweet little Suzy can bully someone else when she thinks nobody is looking. Unfortunately, sometimes anonymity turns even nice people into unrecognizable beings. And no, Suzy’s not a horrible person. She just needs some guidance. See Tip Four.

Check out my blog post on The True Faces of Cyberbullying.

Tip Eight: Texting Jargon

I’m not accusing your child of doing these, but the best prepared parent is a well-informed parent. Watch out for these acronyms and codes.

        • CD9 = Code 9 = Parents around
        • PIR = Parent in room
        • POS = Parent over shoulder
        • 9 = Parent watching
        • 99 = Parent(s) gone or not watching
        • KPC = Keeping parent(s) clueless
        • CID or 420 = codes for drugs
        • ADDY = address
        • N usually means ‘naked’. GNOC = Get naked on camera; NIFOC = Naked in front of camera; IPN = I’m posting naked.
        • PRON = porn (FYI: Don’t freak out about this. Read the sentence and take it in context. Kids benignly joke about things adults wouldn’t with each other a lot. Hey, they’re kids.)
        • (L)MIRL = Let’s meet in real life
        • TWD Texting while driving

I’ve left the most important — life and death — issue to last: texting while driving.

Tip Nine: Absolutely NO texting and driving…for a.n.y.o.n.e.

I’m simply going to ask you to watch this video, then you’ll understand. The video is promoted on Facebook by Kunhadi, a Lebanese non-profit organization concerned with road safety.

If the video isn’t cooperating, you can find it here: Texting While Driving

I hope this blog has prepared you a little bit better for cell phones in the life of your child. More than likely, your parents never had to contend with this issue. You’re breaking new and exciting ground. Do it responsibly.

Today’s assignment: When you  see your child next, tell them how important they are to you and others. Then say, “I love you.” It’s not that tough. Look at a picture of your kid and practice saying “I love you” to it five to twenty times until you are comfortable. Try it right now. 😉

CAUTION: If your child has disabilities, chill out and approach them as is best for their situation. If you haven’t been the parent addressing their needs, talk it over with that person first.

Do not…I repeat, do not ride in like Wyatt Earp thinking you’ll clean up Dodge City. Never has, and never will, work. You’ll just make matters worse. Been there, lived that.

If you want to make a difference in your child’s life, now is a great time to start. See the idea at the top of this blog. Psst. It’s by the alligator.

puppy presentHave a safe and happy holiday season, and thanks again for following Patti’s Pathways. 😀

DISCLAIMER: Any and all ideas presented in this blog are solely my own. Any health related advice is what seems logical to me after research and investigation. At no time, have I suggested or implied that I hold any medical degrees or certificates related to nutrition, psychological, pharmaceutical, or medical health.


Tourette’s Syndrome and the Effects of Sweeteners

I am the goddess of this blog so I’m allowed bouncing Honeyaround from subject to subject if I wish it. So there!

Today I’m writing on the effects of sweeteners on Tourette’s Syndrome.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Withdrawl side effects from stopping some medications cold turkey have horrible consequences. Always consult your doctor before stopping any medication prescribed to you or your child.

Someone very close to me has Aspergers and Tourette’s Syndrome–my son. Standard medications (Ritalin, Concerta, etc.) for the treatment of Aspergers and ADHD possibly contributed to the manifestation of his Tourette’s Syndrome, but certainly exacerbated the tics associated with it. Some of the physical tics were so severe I feared they would cause bodily harm. Strattera caused incredible anger issues, but that’s another topic. Let’s just say he’s the poster child for medications that should work, but do not.

In late elementary and through middle school, his tics manifested as physical (head whipping, arm jerking, etc.) and verbal. The verbal tics were not the spouting of profanities as often heard about, but more barking, chirping, and/or grunting. If you’ve ever seen the Lord of The Rings scene when Golem grunts his name, that is exactly one of his tics. Whether it was planted in his subconscious by the movie or it just randomly appeared, we’ll never know. 🙂

In high school, his tics were primarily verbal. For many years, his psychiatrist prescribed Pramipexole and Benztropine (medications designed to treat neurological movement disorders). These did help. If we’d only known about the effects of sweeteners, those drugs would not have been necessary.

At seventeen years of age, he unilaterally stopped taking all his medications. Prior to this, he was sporatically taking them so there wasn’t the need for weaning him off them. Before you judge me an unfit parent, realize he was taller and outweighed me substantially. There was no “making”  him take anything.

The surprising results of his medicine rebellion were the tics associated with his Tourette’s Syndrome improved greatly and the mood swings never worsened.

Over the next few months, we discovered diet plays a significant part in keeping Tourette’s Syndrome symptoms at bay. We restricted red and yellow dyes. This was nominally successful.The thing that made a night and day difference was the limiting of sweeteners.

Here’s what we found.

  • Artificial sweeteners, in any amount, threw his tics off the charts.
  • High Fructose Corn syrup, which is in so many of the products on the grocer’s shelves today, came in a close second.
  • Fructose when taken in excess causes problems. A few glasses of orange juice turns on the verbal chirps  and grunts.
  • Other sweeteners such as honey and white or brown sugar do cause problems, but not to the extreme as the others listed above.

True to human nature, there are times when Ovaltine, orange juice or soda are too much of a temptation to leave alone. Several glasses in a day cause his verbal tics to return. After two to three days of limiting sweeteners to sane amounts, the tics reduce greatly or disappear completely.

If you or your child has Tourette’s Syndrome, experiment with sweeteners. You may be pleasingly surprised at the outcome.


DISCLAIMER: Any and all ideas presented in this blog are solely my own unless otherwise noted. Any health-related advice is what seems logical to me after research and investigation. At no time, have I suggested or implied that I hold any medical degrees or certificates related to nutritional, psychological, pharmaceutical, or medical health.