Q: “How Do I Get My Sensory-Sensitive Child to Take Fish Oil Supplements?”
“Many children dislike the taste of fish oil and/or simply have trouble with a given formulation. Ultimately, getting your child to take fish oil might be a matter of hiding it in other foods to disguise its taste.”
Q: “My child has ADHD and sensory sensitivities; getting her to take fish oil supplements has always been a challenge. Can you recommend any strategies or creative methods that can help my child get a healthy dose of omega-3s?”
I recommend omega-3 fatty acids in the form of fish oil supplements for almost every child I treat with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), so it’s great that you’re making an effort to add the supplement to your child’s regimen. I also regularly field questions from parents on this very challenge. Many children dislike the taste of fish oil and/or simply have trouble with a given formulation. Ultimately, getting your child to take fish oil might be a matter of hiding it in other foods to disguise its taste.
No two children have the same sensory needs, so it may take lots of trial and error to find the fish oil supplement that your child will take with little to no issue. The following collection of strategies I’ve gathered over my years treating children with ADHD, autism, and related conditions may help.
- Try fish oil in liquid, gel, gummy, and capsule forms. Some children may like the oral input from chewing, for example, even if that means they’ll have to taste the fish oil. If your child has difficulty swallowing pills but would prefer a capsule to limit taste, try finding tiny capsules. (Note that it’s actually quite difficult to get sufficient fish oil from gummies.)
- Today’s fish oil supplements come in a variety of flavors (lemon and orange are commonly available), so be sure to try flavored options.
- Empty a fish oil capsule into other foods your child likes. I’ve heard of parents stirring a week’s worth of fish oil into melted chocolate, letting the mixture cool, and breaking it up into small portions to give to their children.
- Pour fish oil liquid (or empty the capsule) into juices. You can also turn the juice into an ice pop.
- A multivitamin (like the SmartyPants Kids Formula (#CommissionsEarned), which I recommend to some of my patients) may help your child get some omega-3s along with other vitamins. Note, however, that this multivitamin contains only 10% of the daily recommended omega-3 amount that a child would need.
Fish Oil Supplements for Sensory-Sensitive Kids: Next Steps
- Free Download: Fish Oil for ADHD
- Read: Omega-3s — the Ultimate (ADHD) Brain Food?
- Read: How Nutrition, Exercise & Sleep Curb ADHD in Children
The content for this article was derived, in part, from the ADDitude ADHD Experts webinar titled, “Lifestyle Changes with the Biggest Impact on Kids with ADHD” [Video Replay & Podcast #414],” with Sanford C. Newmark, M.D., which was broadcast on August 4, 2022.
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