Question: from Robin
My son is 7. We suspect that he has ADHD but has not been formally diagnosed. He is an incredibly picky eater and will not eat vegetables or fish. He is extremely sensitive to tastes and I have failed to find an Omega 3 supplement that he will tolerate (even if snuck into various foods).
He takes a multi-vitamin (Gummy Bears) but I fear that they lack in what he really needs. So...which supplement(s) would you recommend for him? I have seen some suggestions on your website but they were for a boy of 12. Many thanks.
Answer: from Joanna
We have an ideal supplement for your son for general health, our Total Balance Children's, which is for 4-12 year olds. However, they are enteric coated and do need to be swallowed whole ideally, in order to be able to guarantee their proper absorption of all ingredients. So I am not sure if your son will tolerate this at this stage, until you have worked with him more on his ability to take tablets. This can take some time and patience, but can work with praise and encouragement.
Below I will post you some general swallowing tips that many people find really helps to teach their children to swallow tablets. The key is not to give up and to use patience, praise, and encouragement. Once they do start, they will be fine.
Ensure that you use a thick liquid to drink whilst trying to swallow tablets. Using water or tea or a similar thin liquid simply doesn't give enough leverage to someone whose throat and tongue are already tense from not feeling too comfortable with what they are doing.
Therefore, using a thick liquid such as a smoothie or very thick juice will help this process, as taking a big gulp allows the tablet to slip down easily with the normal act of swallowing the liquid.
Ensure that the tablet is placed in the mouth so that it is going down lengthways. Make sure that it is placed to the middle to back of the tongue, just not at the front. This also helps. Another helpful tip is to dip the tablet in jam or yoghurt first, then place it in the mouth, and follow this with a large gulp of a thick liquid.
This should reduce the actually feeling of having a tablet in the mouth and allow for even easier sliding down during the swallowing action.
Ensure sitting up straight, with the head straight forward. If the head is tipped down, or tipped up too high, then the act of swallowing is more difficult naturally anyway, so this inhibits the natural act. If the head is facing straight forward, or just very slightly tipped up (but not too far) then swallowing becomes much easier.
You are right that because they are protective coated and proactive supplements they shouldn't be cut or chewed unless it is a last resort, as we wouldn't be able to guarantee full absorption of all the ingredients this way.
Ok, if you still feel that this isn't a solution, for your son's general health, you could try 1 per day of the Multi Xtra vitamins we have. These are much more basic than Total Balance, but still advanced compared to your usual over the counter multi. These can be crushed up if this helps.
Our Omega 3/DHA is very pure indeed, and the soft gels can be easily pierced so that you can squeeze the extract into juice, or onto food, as long as it is then consumed immediately.
Perhaps to begin with, don't tell him that you have done this, and he may eat or drink this. You may have to trial various juices, or foods, but try to use something that is quite potent tasting. Our fish oil extract itself doesn't have much taste or smell, but it is a pure fish oil, so for sensitive people there may of course be a slight fresh fish odor, if only faint.
Remember too that these supplements don't replace a good healthy diet, but work alongside one. So it is important to keep encouraging your son to eat a healthy diet. It is only because his brain/taste buds are not used to vegetables that he feels he hates them. He doesn't hate them, he simply needs to adjust his taste buds, which will then tell his brain that he actually likes them.
The best way to begin with this, in simplistic terms, is to very gradually introduce a few items here and there in small amounts, and gradually increase their portions and variety, very gradually, so it is more or less unnoticeable. He will then adjust to a good healthy diet.
Our Neuro-Natural Memory can also be helpful for ADHD, but at this stage I think your son will have enough to cope with, so let's leave that for a future discussion.
I hope this helps.