10 Supplements for ADHD

Below is a list of supplements that are good for
ADHD that we have used or use currently. This list is based on my reading, talking with other moms on the GFCF
Kids Yahoo board, and from information from our holistic/DAN (Defeat Autism Now) doctor. I’ve listed
most of these in my post entitled, “All About Supplements.” If I
listed them there, I am just copying over what I wrote on there previously.

1. Cod Liver Oil
2. Zinc
3. Magnesium
4. Calcium
5. B-12
6. 5HTP/Serotonin Support
7. B-6
8. B-Complex
9. Probiotics
10. Multi-Vitamin



Many articles list fish oil as a good supplement for ADHD but they don’t specify what kind.  Fish oils contain omega-3’s.  We take fish oil in the form of cod liver oil.

Cod liver oil is also great for the immune system, but it’s also good for the
brain and brain development. It often helps kids with ADHD symptoms. It’s great
to take while pregnant (take a clean supplement like Green Pasture to avoid
mercury). It will help the baby’s developing brain, and I’ve also read it can
help prevent future allergies in the unborn child. Woo hoo! All for that.

Brands We Use: I usually order from http://www.greenpasture.org/, the
Fermented Cod Liver Oil in gelcaps. It is free of soy. There is only one other
company that I know of that makes CLO without soy and that is Kirkman’s (order
online). I’ve also used theirs but Green Pasture is a very high quality CLO. At
local health food stores, you’ll find liquid CLO. It has a strong taste (and
soy), so we prefer the gelcaps.

Also, you have to be careful with CLO because
some brands will be tainted with mercury from the fish they use.

Nordic Naturals also makes some fish oils that are pretty good and they make gel caps which
the kids tend to like. There are lemon and strawberry flavors. They can chew them or swallow as a pill. You can call
Nordic Naturals and get free samples mailed to you. They do contain soy though.

How To Take: Take with food. If taken without food, sometimes
you will belch and it will taste like fish oil. Yuck. I give it to my daughter
before school to help her concentrate better but you can probably take it at
any time and I don’t know of any supplements that it should not be taken with.



Brand We Use: We are currently using WaterOz. I also
have some Zinc 30 by Pure Encapsulation and Zinc Picolinate by Thorne Research.

Where to Order From: See notes under Calcium. I order from www.nutritiongeeks.com.

How To Take: I have read that the recommended dose of zinc is
about 20 mg, but my DAN doctor had recommended 30 mg. Take with food, usually
at night. If taken on a empty stomach, it can cause nausea.

Zinc usually has a calming effect, which is why it is recommended to take at night. For some kids,
zinc can cause hyperactivity (although I have read for other supplements like
epsom salt baths, if your child is extremely deficient in something, when you
first start taking it, it can cause hyperactivity while the body adjusts). For
this reason, it is recommended to give it the first time in the morning to
watch for this. If it doesn’t cause a problem, give at night.

Give at least 2 hours away from calcium and magnesium, as it can cause disruption is how the
cal/mag are absorbed. This is the hardest part of giving zinc. I used to give
it with dinner but on the low oxalate diet, you’re supposed to give cal/mag
with dinner. So, I would say give zinc with dinner, and cal/mag either 2 hours
after dinner or right after school. If you can’t do exactly 2 hours, that’s OK.
I’ve seen many supplements that group cal/mag/zinc all together in one pill.
Based on my daughter’s tests, she is taking 3 teaspoons of Zinc Water Oz twice
a day.

Pros for Zinc: Zinc helps support the immune system and helps
with detox support. It also has a calming effect so it’s good for ADHD kids. I
took my kids to a holistic doctor when they were little, and she looked at my
kids’ nailbeds and said they were deficient in zinc. Apparently, you are
supposed to have that round white half moon shape at the bottom of your nails.
If you don’t, it means you are deficient in zinc. (I don’t have any! :0) She
put my kids on a zinc supplement, and they weren’t sick for 6 months. It’s a
GREAT immune booster.

I’ve also read that if kids are chewing on shirt collars, clothes, licking
things, etc., it can mean they are deficient in zinc (the other possibility is
yeast overgrowth). Zinc has some kind of significant association with copper,
but I haven’t needed to look into that yet. I believe it is that if you have
too much zinc in your system, it can deplete your copper levels. I’ve also read
that if your kids cannot tolerate chocolate (my son gets very aggressive), it
can mean they are deficient in zinc.

If you have an extremely picky eater – doesn’t have much of an appetite, this
is a sign of zinc deficiency. Zinc tends to cause an increase in appetite,
especially for those with a zinc deficiency.

I’ve read that many men with prostate cancer have zinc deficiencies.

Cons for Zinc: Zinc can cause naseau if not taken with food.
Otherwise, it’s a great supplement that almost everyone needs.



Brand We Use: We are currently using the brand my DAN doctor
recommended, Water Oz. You can also get Pure Encapsulation brand
Magnesium Citrate or Magnesium Malate.

Where to Order From: See notes under Calcium. I ordered from http://www.nutritiongeeks.com/.

How To Take: Our DAN recommended taking once in the a.m. and
once in the p.m., or at breakfast and dinner. With meals is best but a snack is
OK too. Take with calcium and at least 2 hours away from zinc. The zinc will
not allow the cal/mag to be absorbed as well if all 3 are taken at the same
time. Based on my daughter’s tests, she is taking 2 teaspoons of Magnesium
Water Oz twice a day.

Compliments: Should be taken with Calcium to get maximum
benefits. Calcium can cause constipation, and magnesium can cause diarrhea, so
taken together, they balance themselves out and are better absorbed by the body
if taken together.

You can get magnesium from Epsom Salt baths as well. I give
both oral magnesium supplements and Epsom Salt baths, as do many people without
a problem. Magnesium allows B vitamins to be absorbed better, especially B-6.
So, if you are taking B-6, take it at the same time as magnesium.

Pros for Magnesium: Magnesium is just as important as calcium
but doesn’t get as much press as calcium. My DAN doctor lists magnesium as
helping to relax nerves, relieve tension, and also helps with constipation.
Deficiencies in magnesium can cause problems like depression, headaches,
stunted growth, and other things.

Cons of Magnesium: Too much magnesium can cause diarrhea.



I’m not sure if calcium is good specifically for ADHD symptoms or not, but I always give it with magnesium so I’ve listed it here.

Brand We Use: We are currently using the brand my DAN doctor
recommended, Water Oz. We recently started the Low Oxalate Diet, and
it is recommended to take calcium in the form of calcium citrate. It is better
absorbed by the body and specific to the LOD diet in helping absorb oxalates.

I prefer the WaterOz because it’s easy to put it into my kids’ juice or they just
take it straight. Plus, it’s one less pill they have to take. It tastes like
water. Supposedly, if there is a strong taste to it, that means you are not
deficient in it.

Where to Order From: I just ordered the Water Oz from http://www.nutritiongeeks.com/ for
$44 for a gallon, $14 for 16 oz and $22 for 32 oz.

How To Take: Our DAN recommended taking once in the a.m. and
once in the p.m., or at breakfast and dinner. With meals is best but a snack is
OK too. On the Low Oxalate Diet, it’s recommended to take at every meal as it
binds to oxalates in foods. If taken away from food, it will be absorbed by the
body more, but you don’t need to take it away from food.

Take with magnesium (usually a less amount of mag – like a 2:1 ratio), and at least 2 hours away
from zinc. The zinc will not allow the cal/mag to be absorbed as well if all 3
are taken at the same time. Based on my daughter’s tests, she is taking 3
teaspoons of Calcium Water Oz twice a day. If you order capsules, you want
about 1,000 mg of calcium a day and 500 mg of magnesium.

Compliments: Should be taken with Magnesium to get maximum
benefits. Calcium can cause constipation, and magnesium can cause diarrhea, so
taken together, they balance themselves out and are better utilized by the body
if taken together.

Pros for Calcium: If you’ve seen any milk commercials, you
know the benefits of calcium. I’ve read that one of the biggest mistakes when
someone starts the GFCF diet, is not supplementing with calcium and magnesium.
Magnesium is just as important as calcium, but isn’t marketed as much as

Calcium is important for strong muscles and bones and helps prevent
osteoperosis. You’re most at risk for developing osteoperosis when you get
older, based upon the amount or lack of calcium you get as a teenager or
younger. I was surprised to read that.

So for women especially it’s an important supplement at any age. The receptionist at my DAN doctor’s office said
she feels 100% better after she takes her cal/mag supplement, in terms of
energy especially. I’ve also read that a deficiency in calcium and magnesium
can cause depression, and severe deficiency in calcium can cause kids to rub
their eyes like they’re in pain. Most kids are deficient in cal/mag, so it’s a
good one for everyone to supplement.

Cons of Calcium: Calcium can cause constipation, especially in
high amounts, which is why it’s recommened to take along with magnesium. If you
notice this happening, you can add Vitamin C (about 500 mg) to help with
constipation, increase magnesium, or push more fluids and vegetables. You can
also give your child a bath with Epsom Salt. Epsom Salt has natural occurring
magnesium in it. As your child soaks, they will absorb the magnesium.

5.  B-12

This is the biggest one for my daughter, and the supplement that my holistic doctor emphasizes the most for concentration in school for her.

Brand we use: Methyl 12 Plus by Right 4 Your Type.

Contents: Contains 1,000 mcg B-12 and 400 mcg of folate (or
folic acid). You want your B-12 in the form of methylcobalamin.

Where We Order From: I order directly from their web site,
www.4yourtype.com. It’s $15.95 for 60 caps. I paid $7.67 in shipping for 2

How To Take: We started with one a day in the morning with
breakfast (although B-12 doesn’t need to be taken with food), then increased to
2 a day after a few months. B-12 is a very common supplement that many kids on
the spectrum are on.

Some kids take B-12 shots and have seen big improvements
in speech and mood with it. The shots are better absorbed by the body than
taking B-12 orally, but we’ll never do shots. I’m afraid of needles! The
capsules seem to work fine for many people. There is also a B-12 nasal spray
offered as well. I’ve read that www.mercola.com sells one.  B-12 should be taken with magnesium for maximum absorbption.

B-12 Compliments: B-12 works well in combination with DMG.

Pros for B-12: The most common thing I’ve read other moms say
about B-12 is it’s help with speech and mood/behavior. I’ve also read it is
good to increase focus and concentration. B-12 helps regulate neurotransmitters
(in the brain) and helps with methylation support. B-12 and B-6 are commonly
helpful for ADHD kids.

Cons for B-12: All B vitamins tend to increase yeast (with the
exception of Biotin which actually helps fight yeast), so you’ll want to have
some kind of “yeast protocol” in place (see below). You might wonder,
why would I want to give a vitamin that increases yeast? Because many of the B
vitamins are needed in order to address some of the other issues kids have, and
many of our kids are deficient in B-12.

6.  5HTP (Serotonin Support)


Brand We Use: Serotonin Support Powder or capsules by Quantum
Elementals (the capsules are very big), or 5HTP capsules from Solaray.

Contents: 1,080 mg of L-Tyrosine and 108 mg of
L-5-hydroxytrptophan (aka 5HTP). This is for 1/4 of a teaspoon. My DAN! doctor
crushes up the 5HTP in higher doses so that we can put a tiny scoop (that they
provide) into juice. The scoop is probably about 1/16 of a teaspoon. They end
up getting about 25 mg of 5HTP per scoop.

Where To Order From: We order from our DAN! doctor’s web site,
www.johnhicksmd.com. Click on the button in the middle that says “Green Health Cube.” They used to charge $59 for a bottle, plus
shipping. It lasted us almost a year. I like this brand b/c unlike brands at the health food store, these contain l-tyrosine as well as 5HTP.

How To Take: With the Serotonin powder, my daughter started
out with one scoop in the morning with breakfast and one in the afternoon with
dinner. We recently increased it to 2 scoops in the morning and one scoop in
the afternoon because she has still been having tantrums. The usual recommended
dose is 50 mg per day. You can divide this up into two 25 mg doses a day but check with your doctor. But we started with 25 mg once a day for a week to allow the body to adjust, then increase to 25 mg in the morning and 25 mg at night.

Pros for 5HTP: I REALLY like this supplement. My daughter was
tested (a blood test) for her serotonin levels before starting this. Her level
was at 56, when it should be around 250. People with depression almost always
have low levels of serotonin. My oldest son’s was at 96. Low serotonin has also
been linked to ADHD. Low levels of serotonin can be hereditary which is
probably why depression tends to run in families.

Prior to taking 5HTP, my daughter would cry at EVERYTHING. We had to very
careful about what we could allow her to watch on TV, because everything made
her cry and sometimes it was hard for her to regain herself.

Once she started taking the 5HTP, her mood improved GREATLY. She still gets a
little sad on some movies, but she is SO much better than before. She’ll more
whimper a little bit and hold back tears, instead of sobbing like she used to
for up to 2 hours. After a year of being on the supplement, we tested her
serotonin levels again, and they are now at 250.  This supplement is also supposed to help with sleep if someone is having
trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. My daughter has never had any problems
with that, so I don’t know if that helped in that area or not. That is why it’s
good to take it also at dinner time. My DAN doctor has this supplement listed
as helping support focus and concentration.

Cons of 5 HTP: I believe I have read that very occassionally
this supplement can cause hyperactivity but most moms have reported that there
are no negative side effects.

7.  B-6

Brand we use: We use B-6 Complex, Pure Encapsulation brand.

Contents: This one contains a variety of other vitamins in it
to help with absorption and assimilation.
B-6 itself on its own may cause some issues for some kids, which is why
my holistic doctor recommends this one.

Where We Order From: I order from www.elementalsliving.com.

How To Take:   Take with magnesium for
better absorption, and with meals.
Before school is best to help with concentration and ADHD symptoms.

B-6 Compliments: Take with magnesium for better absorption.

Pros for B-6: B-6 has been studied to show improvements in
kids with ADHD.  Many kids with ADHD have
also been shown to be deficient in B-6.

Cons for B-6: Some kids don’t tolerate B-6 very well.  Occasionally it can cause hyperactivity, or I’ve
heard it said, “My kid went crazy with B-6.” But, I believe sometimes that’s
just a sign that the body needs it.  If
you continue with it, and the hyperactivity goes away, then you know they just
really needed it.  Sometimes you just
have to get past that initial stage as their body adjusts.  All B vitamins tend to increase yeast (with
the exception of Biotin which actually helps fight yeast), so you’ll want to
have some kind of “yeast protocol” in place (see below).   Start out slowly and increase the amount over
a couple weeks.  B-6 capsules are bright
yellow so don’t be alarmed if it changes the color of their urine to a bright
yellow.  This is normal.  B-6 is water soluble. This is not one that
you can easily dump into their juice.
They will probably notice the taste unless you only use a little
bit.  Definitely don’t give it to your
kids in their juice in a see through cup.
I make sure the cup I give them is colored and with a cap on so they can’t
see the color of the liquid inside.  J  I got away with this
when they were younger.  I put it in
their lemonade.  They notice it now unless
I only use a small amount and then I put it in a couple times a day instead.

8. B-Complex

Brand we use: We use B-Complex Plus, Pure Encapsulation brand.

Contents: This contains a variety of B vitamins including B-6
and B-12.  I mention and recommend this
one because it contains several B vitamins and you might be able to cut down
the number of supplements you are giving by using this one instead.  I give this instead of B-6 sometimes, but I
always give the B-12 as well.  Sometimes
I will rotate giving this one and the B-6 every other day or something.

Where We Order From: I order from www.elementalsliving.com.

How To Take:   Take with magnesium for
better absorption, and with meals.
Before school is best to help with concentration and ADHD symptoms.

B-Complex Compliments: As with all B vitamins, take with magnesium for
better absorption.

Pros for B-Complex: B vitamins have been studied to show
improvements in kids with ADHD, especially B-6 and B-12.  My midwife told me that Trader Joe’s sells a
B-6 and B-12 combination pill that just dissolves.  She recommends it to pregnant women who have
morning sickness as these two vitamins help with that as well.  We cannot use it though because it contains a
small amount of dairy (lactose). 




Brands We Use: Currently, we are using Klaire’s Detox Support,
which is a 50 billion (very high dose). You can only order it by calling their
800 #. Tell them you heard of them through Dr. McCandless’s book and you will
receive a 20% discount every time you order. You don’t want to start with this

I also have Floragen 3 which I got from our local health food store in
the refrigerated section. This one is a 15 billion. I take this one and my 3
year old takes half of one capsule. I just open up the capsule and dump 1/2 the capsule into her juice then save the other half for the next time.

We also use Pearls brand sometimes.  They come in different amounts.  You want one with at least 3 different strains and at least 1 to 3 billion.  These are tiny and easy to swallow.  They look like little pearls.  These can also be taken with or without food and at any time of day because they don’t open up till after they pass the stomach apparently.

We also use Klaire’s Infant Probiotics.  This is a powder that I add to my daughter’s drink or I used to add it to her baby food.  Obviously, with babies, you’re not going to be able to give it to them on an empty stomach.  That’s OK.

When you start with probiotics, start slow
and work up – like around 2-3 billion or so and increase every few days till
you get to one capsule a day. You don’t want to experience yeast die off
effects (like headache, upset stomach, etc.) by going too fast.

I don’t recommend ThreeLac as Jenny McCarthy does in her books. It contains a strep
strain which can cause some kids to get strep throat. My son did. The body
mistakes it for the real strep virus and it will develop strep antibodies to
try to fight it off, and they will get strep throat. This doesn’t happen with all
kids, but it does happen to some. The same is true of some yogurts like So
Delicious Coconut yogurts.

Nearly 100% of all autistic and ADHD kids have yeast
overgrowth, so probiotics are the base supplement that they are going to need
every day. But, it’s necessary for everyone. Autistic kids just need a higher amount
to help fight off the massive yeast overgrowth they have.

If you are pregnant, probiotics are also a must, especially nearing birth. The baby picks up your
bacteria in the birth canal to start off their own in their own bodies. If you
have a lot of yeast, they are going to take this with them. You want to make
sure they are getting some good bacteria too.

Many women also suffer from yeast infections while pregnant. Probiotics will help with this, but it isn’t a quick
fix. It will take about 10 days or so to help, but there are many other things
you can do to help with that. I have lots of experience with that. E-mail me if you want details of fighting a yeast infection naturally.

Also, if you do get yeast infections while pregnant, that means you have a lot
of yeast overgrowth, and you don’t want to pass that on to your baby, so get it
under control now. I believe that is one of the contributing factors to autism
as well – babies born to mothers who had yeast overgrowth and passed it on. See my post, “The All Natural Pregnancy.”

How to Take: Taking at night before bed is best. You want to
take it about 2 hours away from food and supplements, on an empty stomach. If
taken with a snack, that’s OK. You can take it with food, but then it will go
to work helping to digest the food instead of working on yeast. Some people
take with food for that reason, but if you are taking it to help fight yeast
and repopulate the gut with the good bacteria, try to take on an empty stomach
as much as possible.

You can also take in the morning before breakfast (at
least a half an hour before). If you are on antibiotics, double the amount of
your probiotics while you are taking the antibiotics. We take one in the
morning, and one at night. The antibiotics are going to kill off all bacteria,
including the good ones, so you want to repopluate them. This is why so many
people develop a yeast overgrowth in the first place is because all the good
bacteria have been irradicated, and now the yeast and bad bacteria thrive
having no good bacteria to fight them off.

Also see my post, “The Yeast Beast and Our Yeast Protocol.”

10.  Multi-vitamin


This one is just my personal opinion.  Many of our kids that have issues have a lot of vitamin deficiencies and I’ve read a few articles on this as well.  I had my kids tested by our holistic doctor to see exactly where they were at and what they were deficient in.  When we added those, I saw improvement.  I think adding a multi-vitamin is a good insurance policy. Just in case they are deficient in something I don’t know about, I’ve covered all the bases.

Brand we use:  Pure Encapsulation PediaNutrients capsules or Thorne Research’s Children’s Basic Nutrients.  These are the two brands my holistic doctor recommends.  Both are good but the recommended dose for the Pure Encapsulation is 4 capsules and for Thorne it’s 6, so I prefer the PediaNutrients.  The capsules are small which is nice and you can open up the capsules and dump these into juice and they dissolve well.

I also have some Solaray Children’s Chewables for my almost 2 year old.  These are berry flavored so I can’t give these to my other kids.  So far, I  haven’t seen any issues with salycilates (fruits, etc.) with her so I let her have these.

I am not a fan of the gummy vitamins.  If you read the labels, they aren’t providing very much of the vitamins, they contain a lot of sugar, and they’re expensive and go fast.  The only gummies I will get are the orange vitamin C gummies from Trader Joe’s because they contain 250 mg of vitamin C in 2 gummies.  I only give these when they are sick or something’s going around.  Otherwise, we have a lot of other vitamins we use to combat illnesses.   My holistic doctor also sells their own brand of multi in a chewable tablet.  It’s orange flavored though.  We tried it and my kids didn’t like the taste.

How To Take:  Take with meals.  Ideally, you want to take some in the morning and some at dinner time.  It’s best to divide it up because their body can only absorb so much at a time.  How many  my kids take just depends on what other supp’s I am giving them at the time. I try to get in as many as I can up to the recommended dose.  So, I might give one at each meal.  I know it’s not the recommended dose, but I do what I can.  Smoothies are good for hiding supplements.

Where We Order From: I order from www.elementalsliving.com or else you can google and see where else these are sold online.

Pros:  I like multi-vitamins because I feel like it’s covering all the bases.  They’re not getting high doses of any one vitamin so I feel they’re safe to take with other supplements and my holistic doctor has said that too.

Cons:  You have to take 4-6 capsules a day.  I wish it was just 1 or 2, but these particular vitamins have a lot packed into them.

Honorable mentionIron
A couple of articles stated iron as one supplement that can help ADHD.  I
suppose if they were deficient in it, it would help.  This is not one I have ever heard mom’s talk
about on the GFCF board, and we talk about a LOT of supplements.  I’ve never given my kids iron, but it is
included in the multivitamin.  You have to be careful with giving iron to kids because too much can be toxic.  My midwife thought I was anemic because I passed out after giving birth so she had me taking iron for a few months.  One sign of iron deficiency is feeling
tired.  Many ADHD kids are hyper.  I know they test for iron at physicals sometimes with the finger prick so you would know if they were deficient.
Brand we use:  Floradix’s Floravital Iron + Herb liquid supplement.  Look for the gluten free one.  I took this one for a while.  It’s made out of vegetables and herbs so it
is easily digested.  Lots of iron
supplements will cause constipation.  You
take a little shot of this every day.  It
tastes a little gross but I got used to it and just plugged my nose.  They make a tablet/capsule form of this, but
it contains some dairy (lactose) so I couldn’t take it.   They
have this at the health food store.  It’s
very expensive and only lasts for 4 weeks after you open it.  I found it online a little cheaper.
How To Take: Take at the beginning of a meal.  You can take it with vitamin C or vitamin C
rich foods to boost absorption.  Don’t
drink any tea close to when you take your iron because it will inhibit absorption.
Pros:  If you are deficient in iron, taking iron will
boost your energy levels.  When I didn’t
take my iron for a couple days, I’d start to feel weak and felt like I was going
to pass out.  I didn’t need to take it
indefinitely.  I took it for about 6
months, then continued on with my prenatal vitamins which contain iron.  If you are pregnant, sometimes your doctor
will prescribe iron.
Cons:  Can cause constipation (but not this
particular brand).  If you do have
problems with constipation , you can take magnesium and vitamin C to combat
Side Note:  Some people talk about supplements called
Calm Child and Attentive Child.  We tried
these years ago before starting the Feingold Diet for ADHD and I didn’t notice
any big difference in my 4 year old.  I
hear of a few people every now and then who use these and like them, but it’s
not one of those big ones that are a miracle or that I hear a whole lot about.  But, every child is different so if you want
to try them, go ahead.  It’s probably
worth a try.

I remember buying some spray called Calm Child when my son was little.  I think it had a lot of chamomile and lavender
in it and it was supposed to calm him down.  I remember thinking, “Can I dump the whole bottle on him?”  It didn’t really work but he thought it was
fun to be sprayed with it.

So there you have it.  These are just ones that I have heard about
the most in treating ADHD.  Obviously, I believe diet plays a huge role in treating ADHD, which is why we do the
Feingold Diet.  But, I think supplements are very important as well.  It’s best to
get all our vitamins from our food, but in reality, that’s hard to do.


I’m not a doctor.  I’m just sharing what we do and what I have
learned about these supplements in working with our own holistic/DAN doctor and
in talking to other moms on the GFCF Kids yahoo group.  When starting any supplements, you should
consult with your doctor and start one at a time.  They say to do one every four days to watch
for any reactions, positive or negative.  It’s nice to be able to link which supplements are helping your child
the most.
If you want to have testing done (and
you have the money), my holistic doctor works via Skype so it doesn’t matterwhere you live.   My insurance covered
him as an out of network doctor and paid for 50%.  His name is Dr. John Hicks out of San Fransisco).  His web site is www.johnhicksmd.com.
Do supplements cost a lot?  Yes.
I can get reimbursed through my company’s FSA plan.  I do have to have my
holistic doctor write up a letter each year saying which supplements my
daughter needs, because of new government guidelines.  I spend a lot on supplements.  This is one reason why when someone asks me
if the Feingold Diet is worth the $83, I say yes.  $83 is nothing compared to what I pay in
supplements for our whole family each year.But, I totally understand if a family can’t afford it.  My goal is to one day have my kids eating so
healthy that they don’t need any more supplements because they are getting them
all from their food.  But, that day isn’t
here yet.  Fermented foods is one way to
get a whole lot of vitamins and probiotics.
Coconut water kefir is one food source for probiotics.  Dr. Hicks is big on this.  He has info on his web site about it.

Hope this helps and isn’t too overwhelming!  Just take baby steps to a healthier life.  You don’t need to do everything all at once.  You’ll get there! 🙂  Keep reading and educating yourself.  www.mercola.com is one of my favorite web sites and he tweets a lot of great stuff too.

Related Posts:

All About Supplements

Supplements for Kids Who Can’t Swallow Pills

Not Quite Ready to Start the Feingold Diet? – 30 Simple Changes Anyone Can Make

What Is the Feingold Diet?

6 Steps to Starting the Feingold Diet for ADHD

A 3-Day Trial of the Feingold Diet
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Written by Sheri Fortes - Visit Website

Author of "All Natural Mom's Guide to the Feingold Diet"

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  1. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS POST!!! I have been looking into all these things and it's awesome to hear someone's opinions on brands and I especially like that you gave pros and cons. I have a question…. have you ever heard of a child being sensitive to fish oil? It makes my son's tics more pronounced. Any ideas on Omega 3 alternative supplements? Thanks again!!

  2. Hi Roseanne. Yes, kids can react to just about anything. What brand were you using? My son has tics from salycilates (certain fruits). Most fish oils out there contain soy and some have traces of mercury from the fish they are using. Can your son swallow pills? I really like the brand we use. If you're using a liquid one, it likely has lots of salycilates to make the oil more palatable. I know Barlean's has a fruit punch one that we got long ago. I should have mentioned that flax seeds/powder and flax seed oil are also great sources of omega 3's. I add flax powder/ground flax seed to my kids' smoothies and they don't even notice. Or, sometimes I add flax oil to it. I add flax oil to salads too. The only problem with the flax oil is that it goes bad after 4 weeks of opening it, and the stuff is expensive. I never go through it within 4 weeks, but it's good stuff.

  3. Thanks for your reply…unfortunately I mostly use FCLO from Green Pastures too. Sometimes we use Carlson's lemon flavored liquid. I'll have to check for salycilates. Thanks for the idea. I too use flax seed/oil as well, I just don't know if it's enough. God Bless You!

  4. Magnesium and B-6 are one of the most common supplements for ADHD kids but Iron is also important. Iron deficiency is most likely to be discovered in young children. It is one of the contributing causes of attention and concentration disorders. Having enough iron enhances immune system and prevents learning difficulties among children. You can increase the level of iron by serving food that are rich in vitamin C like orange, pineapple and grapefruit.

  5. Hi there – I have a question about the Serotonin/5htp products you mention, as I'm a bit confused. Do you give your kids both, or just one? The reason I ask is that the Soloray 5htp that I've researched only contains L-tryptophan, I don't see any mention of the Tyrosine. And as for the Serotonin Support, their website doesn't even list any ingredients, or specify what is in it. Trying to figure out where you are coming up with the 1080 mg L-Tyrosine and 108mg of L-5 tryptophan?? Any clarification would be greatly appreciated, as they are the last two supplements I need to order. Thank you – Amy

  6. They are one in the same but are called by both names. My holistic dr. calls the supplement they sell, Serotonin Support, but it contains 5HTP, which is short for L-Tyrosine and L-5-hydroxytryptophan. That's a mouthful so they call is 5HTP for short. Not all 5HTP supp's contain L-Tyrosine as well but its a good compliment for some reason my Dr. said. So, if you're looking in the stores for the supplement, it will be called 5HTP. The capsules I got from my Dr. and the ones you'll prob find in stores, contain 500 mg of L-Tyrosine and 50 mg of 5HTP. The higher amounts I have listed are what's on my bottle of the powder but we take a very small scoop so that she's not taking that much, she's taking about half of one of the capsules. The capsules are big, so that's why they crush it down and remove fillers so that they can take a small amount in their juice. Probably ignore the numbers I listed. She in actuality is taking 25 mg of 5HTP. The tyrosine is going to be in comparison to the 5HTP so I wouldn't worry about that. It's not a supp you take in addition to the 5HTP. It's just included with it. Also, don't take 5HTP with any ADHD or anti-depressant drugs b/c they are both serotonin boosters. 5HTP is just a natural form of it. I would also recommend having a blood test done to see what levels your kids are at before starting it. And, start at a lower dose (maybe 15mg or so) for the first few days and then you can increase it. My daughter was up to 50mg a day total – 25mg in the morning and 25 mg at dinner. Thanks for pointing that out. I'll have to go back and clarify that in the post. You can also call Dr. Hicks' office and ask them any questions. They're really good about answering ?'s. 262-740-3000. You want the Elementals Store.

  7. We have tried my son on a magnesium supplement called Natural Calm. We went with the flavorless option, and he refuses it in anything. I eventually got him to drink some in water alone and he vomited (not sure if it was involuntary or not). Anyway, could you tell me how the Water Oz brand tastes and if you do the quad strenth or regular. I am open to trying it, just don't want to blow another $40+ on a single supplement.

  8. It tastes like water. I add it to juice and they've never noticed it. My one daughter drinks it straight in a little Mickey Mouse shot glass. 🙂 It can have a very slight taste to it (kind of like a metal aftertaste). I believe this is supposed to mean that you don't need the supplement. It's not a strong taste and you can only tell if you take it straight. I do taste it a little bit and I know I need magnesium. But, if it's in any drink, they won't taste it. I've even added it to water. We do the calcium along with the magnesium, and then do the water oz zinc at another time of the day. I think we do the regular. I didn't know they had a quad strength.

  9. Have you ever heard of youngevity? my dad wants us to use it with our 7 year old who is very hyper. He refused because of the cherry taste. We are just starting Feingold and your site is very helpful. We are having a bit of trouble though with finding things at grocery stores around here. We don't have a whole foods, just walmart (ugh) and locally owned grocery store.

  10. Thank you so much for all of this information! I've been researching ways to help my 6 year old with ADHD issues without medicating him. Your information is the most helpful I've come across. Would you suggest starting the supplements one at a time, or would they be ok to start all at once?

  11. Glad it is helpful! 🙂 Definitely one at a time. I should have mentioned that. You can space them about one every 4 days. I like to keep a journal/diet diary to note any changes in behavior noted. Reason to start one at a time is b/c you want to watch for any reaction, whether good or bad. If you see one that is really helpful, then you know that's one you want to keep for sure. Supplements can start to get expensive so if I see one that I don't see any difference on, I may not give it every day if it's not an essential. Kids can react to anything, maybe even a filler in the vitamin so that's why we start one at a time. I think cal/mag are the only ones that I wouldn't bother waiting one at a time b/c they work so well together and are rarely an issue. I would start with those two first and then the multivitamin, then probiotics, then whatever you want. Serotonin, you might want to have levels tested first and don't take if they are taking any ADHD or depression meds already.

  12. ArtChick97- No, I have never heard of Youngevity. Bummer about the grocery stores. Do you have any health food stores? You can find some things online but the problem is, you usually have to buy in larger quantities, and you'll want to make sure your child likes it first. I order a few things on Amazon where there's free shipping. You'll end up having to make more things from scratch or use more recipes in cooking instead of throwing something prepackaged in the oven. Doable, just not as easy.

  13. Hi Sheri! I LOVE this article! My husband found your article after we all suffered from a nasty stomach bug & he was trying to find supplements/vitamins/minerals to take for a faster recovery. I bookmarked your article since then & am interested in taking some of these supplements you recommend, but for different reason (mostly general health for both young children & adults).

    I have lots of trouble with sleep (starting with my first pregnancy over 4 years ago) & was looking into taking the 5-htp particularly. Almost all 5-htp supplements out there contain only the 5-htp (l-hydroxytryptophan) & not both the 5-htp & l-tryosine. Do they work better together or is it something that will work quite well alone (5-htp only)? Is this something that helps your body get back to working properly or does it take over the body's own system if that makes sense (take for life or just temporarily until your body gets back to normal)? Do you think that seratonin support powder is better & more easily absorbed into the body almost like food versus capsules? What dosage(s) do you recommend for aduts? I've been taking lunesta 2mg for sleep & an anti-anxiety med called clonezepam 0.5mg for a couple of months now & would like to replace them with natural sources. I look forward to seeing your thoughts! Thank you for writing this amazing article!

  14. Thanks! Hope you are all feeling better! 5HTP prob works fine alone but combined w/ the L-tyrosine I'm sure is better since my holistic dr recommends it. It brings your serotonin levels back up to normal range over a period of time, so no, I don't believe it is something you'd have to take for the rest of your life. My daughter was retested for her serotonin levels about 2 or 3 years after the first time, and she was back at 250, which is where she should be. I discontinued the serotonin for several months to save money on supp's but we are adding it back in now. I would just watch for signs that you need it or get tested every year or so. My holistic dr said that it can cause adverse reactions if you take it and you don't need it too. But, I can tell if my dd needs it or not. It helps her w/concentration and it affects her mood and it's very obvious for us. I guess you would be able to tell by whether you are able to sleep or not. Don't take it along with sleep aides or depression meds though. Take one or the other. I don't think the powder or capsule form matters. It's just a matter of how to get it into the kids and the powder is easier, but they are basically the same form really. One is just crushed down and without fillers. I think once your body is healthy, you will maintain a healthy level of serotonin, just in my opinion. That means eating healthy, exercising, etc. Exercise effects serotonin/dopamin levels too. Wish we lived in a warmer climate! My kids are outside every day in the summer.

    I think 50 mg of serotonin is an adult dose. That's what's in one capsule.

    For anxiety, the B vitamins are good. Watch the DVD documentary Food Matters from your library or NetFlix. They talk about this a little bit. B-Complex is good b/c it contains a variety of the B-vitamins. B-6 and B-12 are also good. Calcium, magnesium, and vit D are good for mood as well. Vit D deficiency can cause depression, as we see in "winter blues" b/c we are not out in the sun and getting vit D. Check out http://www.mercola.com for more info on that. He's big on vit D. Elminitating corn syrup also helps! Corn syrup makes me and my kids angry and depressed. Same for many people. For the most part though, I just need to stay away from pop with corn syrup so if I do drink pop, it's 365 Whole Foods brand usually.

    Do you drink any caffeine including chocolate? I personally can't do ANY caffeine or it keeps me up at night. I'm OK with some chocolate. Make sure your room is completely dark. Cover up any lights from alarms, TV's, monitors. I have room darkening shades. That will help some and try to stay off the computer, TV for a couple hours before bed. Some teas help with sleep – chamomile, etc. Check your local health food store. Also, you can look into removing artificial colors/flavors from your diet (Feingold Diet). Those give me nightmares/weird dreams every time and when nursing, my kids would not sleep if I ate dyes. Sweet dreams! I'm off to bed! 🙂

  15. Thank you for all the great tips, Sheri! I'm still debating on what I should do. I gave Dr. Hicks's office a call & I may end up taking a blood test to see where my seratonin levels are so I can take something I know will be tailored to me. I'm so excited that they can do online appts.!

    I'm pretty healthy in general. It's just the lack of sleep that is really starting to show up in everything negatively! I exercise around 3x/week. I don't drink any caffeine & really don't have much chocolate these days. I'm a sugar addict, but I have cut WAY back by removing it all from our house! It has been quite a few months since I did that. I do take a B-Complex vitamin everyday as well as Green Pasture FCLO/Butter Oil & a mulitvitamin.

    I didn't know that about corn syrup! I pretty much chunked anything with false sugars like that when I did my extreme clean out of all of our food! I have not looked into artificial dyes/flavors though. I'll definitely check into that! As for the melatonin, I've tried it with no luck. I feel like I've tried every trick in the book, but the seratonin powder was a new one for me. I'll try to update what works for me (crossing my fingers that something/method/miracle actually will work) if that day does come! For now, I'm scheduled to see an acupuncturist soon! Thanks for all of your help! You're the best!

  16. Hi there… came across your site today… doing research for our 8 yr old daughter who exhibits signs of anxiety, hyper behavior, poor sleep, etc. I have done different things over the years for her. Recently consistant chiropractic care has really helped her sleep issues, but not her behavior. We do fish oil, multivits, & calcium & probiotics…. looking forward to adding some add'l dupps & should look into feingold diet. Thanks for all your research & info!

  17. Great article. I just wanted to mention that you can be deficient in your iron STORES and the finger prick at the doctor show your iron as being fine- bc they are only testing your hemoglobin- the iron in you blood. At 8 months old I suspected my oldest was anemic bc his eye whites were gray. The doctor did the finger prick at 8, 9, 10, and 12 months and he was always a 12 or 13- "great!" the doctor would say. I new something wasn't right. When we finally found a DAN doctor he tested everything and said my son's iron stores were depleted- they wanted to give him iron through his veins, but he was too small so we had to kill off the yeast and then supplement through pills. After my 2nd child I had my iron stores checked (bc the finger prick said I was good). My stores came back very low- causing exhaustion, major hair thinning, etc. I wish everyone could know this and doctors would quit with the finger prick. Thanks again for all the GREAT info. you listed!

  18. Great information, thanks so much for having it all in one place for us newbies! How do you know what t a child levels should be for all thee supplements, a blood test? Have you found a all in one like Smarty pants or do you do a multi vitamin then add on more supplements?

  19. I was excited to find this detailed post! It included information on all the very supplements I was considering and I was happy to get another bit of advice as I prepare to stock my ADHD-supplement shelf. And I was only going to comment that a chart would be helpful for me to understand when you give what and how many each day. But then, I got to what you said about iron…and my excitement at finding a well-researched resource faded.

    While it is true that "if they were deficient in it, it would help" what you said about figuring out if they're deficient is not at all true.

    A child displaying "hyper" ADHD symptoms is not at all the opposite of being tired. Nor is it true that, "they test for iron at physicals sometimes with the finger prick so you would know if they were deficient."

    What is true is that so-called "hyperactivity" in ADHD is actually mostly about lack of automatic impulse control and that hyperactive behavior often even increases with tiredness. Hyperactive ≠ not-tired.

    When you go to a check-up, and get a finger poke, what they test is your hemoglobin level, not your iron level. While it's true that a low hemoglobin level often indicates a low iron level, having a low iron level does not always cause a low hemoglobin level. The only way you can know your actual iron level is to get a blood test for your "total ferritin" level. And, if you have ADHD, getting this test may be a good idea. A 2004 study, published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, found that 84 percent of children with ADHD had significantly lower levels of iron, compared with only 18 percent of kids without ADHD.

    Anyway, I hope you find this information useful and will soon be posting some fab info on which iron supplements you recommend and why!

  20. Before I found this blog, I was actually Using cal mag zinc fish oil and b Vit complete. As I spot blogs and articles, no one ever mention whether a child is taking meds or not while trying alternatives. So I cannot tell what works or not.
    Just wondering if anyone just used the mineral trace drops?

  21. Pingback: Our Experience with Tourette’s, Tics, and the Feingold Diet | All Natural Mom

  22. Hi there! I could have sworn I’ve been to
    this website before but after looking at a few of the articles
    I realized it’s new to me. Anyhow, I’m definitely
    happy I came across it and I’ll be bookmarking
    it and checking back frequently!

  23. Pingback: All About Supplements | All Natural Mom

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  25. wow I just read through all the vitamins that you give your children. wow! I wish I could afford it! if I was to give one or two what would you recommend?

  26. Hi! I am wondering if you still use Water Oz? I couldn’t find it on nutritiongeeks.com and I would love to find alternates to all the pills/capsules. Thanks!

  27. Hello, I was wondering if you still follow this protocol or if some of these stopped working after a while. I’ve had to tinker with supplements for my son over the years but wanted to try new supplements. Thanks in advance! Tania

  28. So my child has a really hard time with focusing, he may even be autistic bit he hasn’t been diagnosed. The b12 looks intriguing but what is dmg that you say works well with it? Also you say it can cause yeast problem so what do you suggest to counteract that? My child is 5 years old, is that too young?

  29. Where can I find the serotonin powder? Dr. hicks website doesn’t work and I can’t find that product anywhere on the web. I think my son truly needs this product and wondering how else I could supplement the L tyrosine as he doesn’t like pills/capsules. He does take a chewable tryptophan but would be nice if both combined like in that powder.

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