Aluminum Toxicity & Magnesium Deficiency as a Cause of Tics

Tics are not a normal part of childhood development. They are a sign of atypical neurological function, or rather an impairment of proper function. Unfortunately, although tics are not normal, they are relatively common these days, and affect as many as 20% of school-age children.

While there may be various causes for the development or presence of tics, it is clear from the medical literature, that aluminum toxicity and magnesium deficiency can play a huge role.


Aluminum is a neurotoxic metal. Through scientific research, we have come to know that aluminum exposure is linked to a variety of neurological conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to avoid aluminum in our environment, as it can be found in our food items, drinking water, and body care products. In addition, many vaccines contain aluminum adjuvants.


When my son was born, out of my fear and lack of knowledge on the subject, I chose to delay and selectively vaccinate. When he was four months old, a nurse administered to him the Pediarix vaccine without my permission. It has 850 mcg aluminum (hydroxide) in it, more than any other vaccine. He ended up getting just four more shots by the time he was two years old, but in total, he was injected with 2,450 mcg of aluminum adjuvant. At the time, I had no idea how this would negatively affect his health, long term.

Magnesium is critical for brain health and I had to learn this the hard way.

When my son was four years old, we installed a reverse osmosis filtration system for our drinking water.

Two months later my son began to develop an eye tic. It started out as excessive blinking. We witnessed this phenomenon rapidly grow worse over the course of two weeks, involving his whole face and even his neck and shoulder. We made an appointment with his doctor. We were also worried he was having absence seizures and that something neurologically was terribly wrong for the tics to become so severe, so quickly.

My husband and I spent our nights reading and researching as much information as we could find on the potential causes, and made an appointment with a neurologist at the recommendation of his doctor. I then discovered that tics are associated with magnesium deficiency. Shortly after, my husband found a World Health Organization article on demineralized water.

Demineralized water leaches minerals from the body, including magnesium. If your ratio of calcium to magnesium (Ca/Mg) is too high, your nerve cells will fire repeatedly, your muscles won’t be able to relax, and you will start to have involuntary tics. So we started giving him mineral rich spring water until we could find a good filtration system as a replacement for our RO system, and increased his intake of magnesium-rich foods.

The tics began to subside within a few days and almost completely resolved over the course of the next week. Note: Although his tics cleared up after we corrected the magnesium deficiency, we chose to keep the appointment with the neurologist just in case. Frustratingly, when asked if nutritional deficiencies could increase the risk of tics, the neurologist immediately replied with, “No, tics are just a normal part of childhood development.”

Unfortunately doctors and specialists do not typically receive much education on nutrition in medical school. They simply don’t know.

Aluminum causes symptoms of magnesium deficiency.

I had always suspected that the aluminum my son was injected with as an infant and toddler was connected to the tics he experienced when he was four years old. While our whole family was drinking the reverse osmosis water, he was the only one in our family to experience such severe adverse effects (my daughter is not vaccinated, except for the Hepatitis B vaccine which I suspect was administered without my permission in the hospital when she was born). Then I stumbled across the following study:

Aluminum decreases the magnesium concentration of spinal cord and trabecular bone in rats fed a low calcium, high aluminum diet.Yasui M, et al. J Neurol Sci. 1998.

The authors found that high aluminum exposure decreases the concentration of magnesium in the central nervous system tissues, causing degeneration through altering the normal biological function of magnesium.

Therefore, the reason why my son was the only one in our family who was severely affected by the magnesium-depleting reverse osmosis water was because the aluminum in his system was making it much worse.

In addition, the study below states that having a higher Ca/Mg ratio (too much calcium / not enough magnesium) accelerates the uptake of aluminum into the brain which can cause further adverse neurodegenerative effects:

Relationship between neurological diseases due to aluminium load, especially amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and magnesium status.Mitani K. Magnes Res. 1992.

So here we have it: Exposure to aluminum causes a decrease in magnesium levels. Low magnesium levels cause an imbalance in the Ca/Mg ratio, leaving you with too much calcium and not enough magnesium. High calcium/low magnesium ratio harms neurons and proper firing and function of nerve cells. Magnesium deficiency in turn invites more aluminum to be deposited into the brain… causing more neurological damage.

And unfortunately, neurological damage from aluminum extends far beyond the development of tics.

Aluminum exposures can cause encephalopathy and seizure.

If you read a DTaP vaccine insert, you will find that encephalopathy is has been listed as an adverse event or side effect from the vaccine. This adverse event was not reported in pre-licensure clinical trials, most likely because subjects in the clinical trials were only monitored for four days post-vaccination. That is why it is listed under “Postmarketing Experience” (page 12).

The manufacturer is required to list events which they have sufficient reason to believe the vaccine causes the event. The insert also warns that individuals with prior diagnosis of encephalopathy should not receive the DTaP vaccine. So why would the DTaP vaccine cause encephalopathy?

One major reason is because DTaP vaccination is an acute exposure to aluminum. Acute or chronic exposures to aluminum can lead to encephalopathy, loss of speech, motor impairments, and seizures. And in the 1950s and 60s, aluminum hydroxide was being used to induce chronic epilepsy in primate test subjects.

In this study, a case of aluminum hydroxide-induced encephalopathy in an 18 month old boy is documented. Due to his impaired kidney function, this child was more sensitive to the neurotoxic effects of aluminum. His symptoms began with tics and unfortunately he went on to develop more severe symptoms consistent with progressive encephalopathy. As the study mentioned above highlights, depending on the sensitivity of the individual, or their kidney function or health, chronic or acute aluminum exposure can be devastating to the neurological system.

Thankfully, magnesium may be helpful. It has been found to help reduce seizures, even alongside anti-seizure medication.

Aluminum adjuvants cause delayed and chronic adverse effects.

Even though it had been over two years since he received his last aluminum-containing vaccine, the following studies found that the aluminum injected into the body via vaccine adjuvant can remain under the skin at that location for several years as it slowly relocates to other organs and tissues of the body (including the brain). Aluminum remains under injection site for 4-5 years:

Sixty-four children with persistent itching nodules and contact allergy to aluminium after vaccination with aluminium-adsorbed vaccines-prognosis and outcome after booster vaccination.Bergfors E, et al. Eur J Pediatr. 2013.

Highly delayed translocation of aluminum:

Highly delayed systemic translocation of aluminum-based adjuvant in CD1 mice following intramuscular injections.Crépeaux G, et al. J Inorg Biochem. 2015.

From a study titled, “Macrophagic myofasciitis: characterization and pathophysiology”:

“Aluminium oxyhydroxide (alum), a nano-crystaline compound forming agglomerates, has been introduced in vaccine for its immunologic adjuvant effect in 1927.”

“Animal experiments indicate . . . [aluminum] can first translocate to draining lymph nodes, and thereafter circulate in blood within phagocytes and reach the spleen, and, eventually, slowly accumulate in brain.” Gherardi R, et. al. Lupus. 2012.

In conclusion,

Aluminum exposure is not only linked to tics, encephalopathy, neuroregressive symptoms, seizures, and epilepsy, but is linked to neurodegenerative diseases like ALS and Alzheimer’s. It appears that at least a portion of the mechanism of action appears to be through displacing and depleting the concentration of magnesium in the brain, which increases the Ca/Mg ratio, causing excitotoxicity and nerve cell death.

Excitotoxicity:Multifaceted effects of aluminum in neurodegenerative diseases:


Some steps to take if you are experiencing symptoms of aluminum toxicity:

  • – Avoid aluminum exposure in all forms as much as possible.
  • – Drink silicon-rich mineral water (at least 30 mg/L) that contains at least 10mg/L magnesium and have your drinking water tested. More than 10mg/L magnesium is better.
  • – Eat magnesium-rich foods. (Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, hemp hearts, almonds…)
  • – Consider taking a magnesium threonate supplement.
  • – Take Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) baths.
  • – Eat a clean, healthy diet and avoid inflammatory foods.
  • – Incorporate anti-inflammatory foods into your diet such as turmeric, ginger, and avocado.

A note about water: According to the World Health Organization, the minimum magnesium content of drinking water should be 10mg/L or else the water you drink will draw magnesium out of the body.

There’s sufficient evidence that Americans are chronically magnesium deficient. Magnesium deficiency may even be a significant factor in the development of depression and anxiety.

Getting more magnesium from drinking water and dietary sources may be beneficial to anyone experiencing neurological effects.

This study even states that having the proper amount of magnesium in your drinking water can help prevent heart disease and stroke.

If you are suffering from tics or other symptoms of aluminum toxicity, consider increasing your intake of magnesium and taking steps to reduce your body burden of aluminum, prior to taking additional medications (which cannot correct a nutritional deficiency).