Saturday, June 22, 2013

Supplementation 101 for Children with Apraxia

At the end of this post, I mentioned how I was reading this amazing book, Cure Your Child with Food: The Hidden Connection Between Nutrition and Childhood Ailments(aff link) by Kelly Dorfman. This book is great for any parent, but awesome if your child has some form of illness, ranging from chronic ear infections to speech delays.  I learned so much from this book and still refer to it often.

She mentions that children with apraxia, or a significant speech delay, tend to be deficient in three fat-soluble nutrients.  These three areas that apraxic children all experience deficiency in are the following:

Omega 3s: I've mentioned in this post how we were totally on board the fish oil train and the transformation we've seen in the kiddo since we started it.  One statistic I read is that 60% of the brain is composed of this fatty acid, and a deficiency in it can lead to memory problems, ADHD, depression, anxiety, learning disabilities, and motor planning and speech difficulties.  Dorfman recommends children with apraxia take 1,000 mg of fish oil a day.  We started at a much lower dose around December and are slowly working our way up to that amount.  We love using Nordic Naturals - Children's DHA, Healthy Cognitive Development and Immune Function (aff link).  Kiddo drinks a spoonful of the stuff down no complaints (I buy the strawberry liquid flavor), other parents disguise it in juice or yogurt or something tasty.  Within a few days of taking the fish oil he was babbling, and within a few weeks he said his first words.  Fish oil is amazing!!

Vitamin E: Claudia Morris did a fascinating study showing that Vitamin E taken along with fish oil supplementation had a much greater effect then taking fish oil alone.  After a little research she learned the symptoms of Vitamin E included motor planning difficulties, low muscle tone, and slow speech development. Kelly Dorfman recommends adding 800 IUs of Vitamin E a day, but our pediatrician was shocked by that amount.  Claudia Morris recommends 400 IUs a day.  Our pediatrician found that to be high too, not recommending over 100 IU a day, and so we are following his opinion for now until we are able to meet with a nutritionist at the end of July for more information about Vitamin E and other supplements that we can use to help the kiddo.  20 IUs are the normal daily recommendation for Vitamin E, but with a deficiency, you need to go above and beyond that to bring it up to normal levels.  Since I am not a doctor or a nutritionist, and there seems to be some controversy over how much to give, I'm going with what our doctor thinks is best.  Some fish oils come with Vitamin E already in them, but we use the strawberry tasting liquid fish oil that sadly does not contain Vitamin E.

Choline: Dorfman states that "choline is critical for brain development" and a deficiency will effect memory and motor planning.  Dorfman recommends 3,000 mg a day for children 3 and up.  This liquid supplement is expensive and apparently tastes bad, so we haven't tried it yet, but are trying to find foods that contain choline in it for him, such as eggs, peanuts, and chicken.

For a list of other supplements recommended to help children with apraxia and other special needs, check out this post.  And feel free to leave any comments or questions below!


  1. HI. I am curious how the supplements are going. Did you find one more beneficial than te other?

    1. Hi! We're still doing the vitamins and the fish oil. I've switched to a fish oil that does contain Vitamin E now and it seemed to make a difference. I've discontinued all the other supplements we were doing because either 1) his most recent blood results indicate he doesn't need that supplement or 2) we saw no difference using that supplement. But others have had great success and I'm glad we tried supplementing. We still use Peanut Butter Plus, and the Blueberry Pomegranate juice every day though. ;)

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