What supplements do you suggest for ADHD in my 7 year old?

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

Hi Robin,

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.

Swallowing tips:
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.

4 Responses

Hi Kathleen,

You actually want a high DHA ratio, not the other way around. The reason some information suggests a higher EPA ratio is needed is because prior to 2004 EPA was the only element really studied, so most studies concluded this as more important. Another reason is marketing by companies who are only able to obtain a higher EPA, due to the cheaper fish sources used which are low in natural DHA, and hence they try to advertise only the EPA benefits.

Since 2004 however DHA is the main element studied, and has been confirmed as the most essential in higher dose. This is because it can convert to EPA if EPA is lacking and needed, and also because DHA is the main ‘building block’ for all essential fatty acids. This is the one that is needed in higher ratio for optimal health benefit.

You are right in that Omega 3 fish oils can be extremely beneficial, not only for general health but for this type of condition, so I would advise perhaps our
Omega 3/DHA (standard version) for your son, at 1 per day to start, increasing to 2 per day.

Total Balance Children’s version would also be advised to help with overall balance; and
Neuro-Natural Memory at just 1 per day to help with Neuro-natural chemical balance.

Along with this, improved diet, pure fluids, and plenty of daily regular exercise are equally important.


Xtend-Life Expert September 14 2010

My 7 year old son also has ADHD, but has been able to swallow pills successfully. I am having difficulty finding a Fish Oil which has a high EPA to DHA ratio, as close to 4:1 as possible. According to the most recent studies, the benefits of Fish Oil for children with ADHD has been incredible. What can you recommend?

Kathleen September 11 2010

Our <a href= /product/Omega_3_DHA_Fish_Oil.aspx >Omega 3/DHA Fish Oil should be the first item to consider. I would give her a slightly higher dose at 3 soft gels a day. I would also consider giving her a half dose of our
<a href= /product/Neuro-Natural_Serenity.aspx >Neuro-Natural Serenity. This may really help her.

With regard to acne… this could be either a diet or a hormone issue. There is no natural supplement or topical treatment that is guaranteed to work for acne. Some topical treatments may help but they are only dealing with the surface of the problem. If I were you I would look very hard at what she is eating…and drinking. For example, if she is drinking sodas every day or, energy drinks this could be having a negative effect on her.

I know that it is difficult to control what a 15 year old eats, and it is difficult for them to understand how what they eat can impact on both how they feel and look (but, it does). So, that is where I would focus my efforts. Maybe, if the supplements that I suggested help, it may have the side effect of helping her eat better as well.

Hope this is helpful!

Warren Matthews September 30 2010

I have a 15 year old daughter who is ADD and after years of being on Adderall we have decided to go a natural way for treatment. Her doctor know about us doing this. We heard about fish oil EPA/DHA omega 3 was a good way to go. Also she suffers with bad acne and we have been to many doctors for this but haven’t found anything that works. Please let me know if you have anything that could help with these two problems.


mel September 28 2010

Leave a comment (all fields required)