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Review of Nordic Naturals Children's DHA when used for Autism

Updated on November 18, 2011

Have you heard about the use of Nordic Naturals DHA in kids with Autism?

There is a lot of information going around right now about the use of Nordic Naturals Children's DHA in children with Autism. Some people say it is a very effective treatment for Autism- I thought I would try to separate the facts from the hype for you! While it is not a cure, these rumors do have some merit!

There are a lot of claims online about the use of different supplements in combinations curing, reversing or significantly improving the symptoms of autism. These claims about reversing or curing autism are untrue. Decreasing the symptoms however, is possible in some cases.

Often when a parent gives these supplements and notes an improvement, it is simply a placebo effect- sometimes a slight improvement will actually occur, but that is typically because the child was deficient in a specific nutrient and feels better once that nutrient is supplemented.

The latter, often occurs as a result of oral aversion - the child simply can not tolerate foods of certain textures, temperatures, shapes, consistencies etc thereby restricting their diet.

Sometimes a deficiency is a result of a co-morbid condition affecting absorption. The deficiencies are a symptom of the disorder- not the cause.

It is in the cases of deficiencies that you might notice a real improvement in the ASD symptoms when giving the child a supplement. The severity of the disorder will not change however adding the supplements can fill in the gaps and make the child feel better overall. When the child feels better, they may exhibit fewer behavioral symptoms and be more willing to speak although in most cases, they will still not become verbal.

We have tried most of the supplemental regimines. Very few made any difference what-so-ever. It was not until we had labs drawn and targeted specific nutrients with the help of my son's clinical dietician that we began to notice a change.

Please note that this "change" IS NOT a reversal of the symptoms nor does it address the underlying problem. It simply made my child feel healthier- which helped relieve some of his other symptoms.

I am not a doctor.

The purpose of this article is to explain basic information in a way that you can understand and to show you an option you may not have been aware of. It may not do for your child what it did for mine- my child had a deficiency contributing to his challenges and this is the supplement that helped him.

Common sense says that if a child has a nutritional deficiency, supplementing the right nutrients may alleviate some of the symptoms relating to the deficiency.

The manufacturer makes no claims of what this supplement can or can not do- nor do I. This review is based upon my personal experience with this product. I am not suggesting that this product can "fix" problems with kids who have autism, adhd or any other problem, disorder or disease.

If you choose to give it to your child, please read all labels and note that those with allergies to iodine, fish oil or those taking blood thinners should speak to their doctor prior to taking the product.

Please remember that while this product is considered safe it is possible to overdose on supplements which can be very dangerous.

- this article is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure any disease or condition. If you have not yet discussed this with your child's doctor perhaps you should. Please remember to discuss any medications you try with your child's doctor before starting, stopping or changing the dose- even an OTC or supplements.

Talk to your child's doctor prior to starting any supplements especially those with fat soluable vitamins

Why did we try a blend like this? - It was a tough decision, ultimately I chose these based on a mistake!

In 2008 our son's blood was drawn to see if he had any deficiencies. We followed up a few weeks later with his dietician. She recommended that we scurry over to GNC to see if they had anything containing Vitamin A, D, and fatty acids. The vitamins mentioned are fat absorbed- it is possible to overdose on them so we had been waiting until we saw the labs to determine whether he needed extra, he did!

We went to GNC, I looked at their children's supplements and there were a few choices. I was trying to choose between the Nordic Naturals Children's DHA and another brand when a sales man approached and told me that he had used both for his daughter who has ADHD and that both worked equally well, he noted that her memory seemed to improve and that she had been able to remain seated at school more frequently.

I decided on the Nordic Naturals - honestly I chose it because I thought it was cheaper- and it contained 180 soft gels, I had failed to read the dosage which is 4 gels per day which gave us enough for 45 days. When you do the math, they ended up being about the same price.

At first I thought I had made a mistake, but quickly realized that I would repeat it a thousand times over!

My son's life altering changes - NOT a cure, just an open door

I called the nurse at my son's school. He was in Pre-K at a local elementary school with a wonderful, strict, and observant teacher. I told the nurse exactly what he was taking but also told her that I wanted to hold off on notifying the teacher for 2 weeks to see if she noticed any changes without having to worry about a placebo like effect, she agreed and the teacher was informed only that "he had some new health concerns, please send to the nurse if he appears nauseus, shaky, pale etc".

Within 4 days, I got a note. He spoke at school! He was extremely verbal at home, he just refused to speak at school, but he did it!

A few more days passed, he was participating, he sat still for nearly 20 minutes at a time. He stopped head banging at school.

As the supplements wore off at the end of the day the newly reduced symptoms always returned, if we ran out they returned with a vengeance. Overall he was still clearly autistic, but with that little bit of extra focus we could reach him!

We used those precious hours to maximize his therapies and he began to flourish! His vocabulary grew and his attitude improved. He made a few friends! The school saw such an improvement within the first few hours of him taking it that they moved all of his therapies to early morning to maximize their effect as well!

Although the symptoms are not truly gone, we are able to get through to him much more easily and the language and social lessons are "sticking" better than they used to! He has now been able to verbalize "I feel better if I take the oils" and he also said "control my arms and legs at the table easier".

We have also noticed a decline in the severity of sensory symptoms and he explains it to me this way: "when I have an oil, things don't stab and poke my arms and legs".

I have only tried the oils once myself because we simply can't afford for both of us to take these at the recommended dosage daily, but since I have Sensory Integration dysfunction I would really love to try them out for 2-4 weeks so I can see how effective they are and elaborate on the details. I believe he is referring to the pins and needles feeling which has been frequently described by people with SID.

This does not cure ASD- they never claimed it did but it has opened so many doors for my son making the therapies more effective and giving us the special connections we waited so long for.

That was 3 years ago... - How about now?

Every night before bed he takes 4 of the soft gels (still)- we call them his special oils. We had to switch to nights as he is not 'a morning person'. He still takes his melatonin, and gummy vitamins (which CAN NOT contain any of the fat absorbed vitamins to prevent overdose).

He is now in a mainstream classroom with special education support. He has the same academic expectations as the other kids. He is very smart and active. His ability to focus comes and goes. He still has ASD symptoms but today strangers can understand nearly 60% of his speech, he has a few friends, and he does well at school.

He still has severe oral aversions, speech problems, theory of mind, does not pick up on social cues, robotic movements and sensory integration dysfunction but we can get through to him! There is a fair amount of us having to repeat ourselves to him and getting his attention takes a few tries, but before the 'special oils' there was NO eye contact, there was no listening to us, there was rarely any connection to us at all.

My opinion on what the oils did for him....

I believe that because of the deficiency, he was not feeling well. The "not feeling well" most likely compounded with his autism, causing him to be more profoundly effected than he truly is. Think of it this way, when you go all day without eating, maybe even two days, or even if you catch a flu bug you get cranky and eventually you won't feel like talking and become withdrawn. His deficiency made him feel bad, correcting it with the oils made him feel better- which helped overall as he felt more like interacting.

More details

Each serving (4 soft gels) contains Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, EPA, DHA, other omega 3's and Oleic Acid (omega 9)

This truly is a great product and I strongly recommend it.

The only drawback is that for some reason they thought it would be "yummy" to add strawberry flavoring to chewable fish oil.....

From experience- do not let your child squeeze these while sitting on a couch- the stench takes WEEKS to go away!

Ever try supplements for ASD or ADHD?

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    • jojokaya lm profile image

      jojokaya lm 6 years ago

      This is new information for me. Thanks for sharing it

    • laughingapple profile image

      laughingapple 5 years ago

      Great lens. More people should look into using natural remedies. I have only taken algae based DHA in the past but agree that Nordic makes an excellent product.

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