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    Test Driving Children’s Supplements

    May 14, 2008 by Brandy Vencel

    Once upon a time, I wrote a series explaining our son’s recovery from tics and our journey to the GFCF diet. I have never really explained why our daughter is also on the diet. Someday, I will do so. Today, you’ll just have to trust me that she needs it, even though she never had tics.

    Our daughter needed to go far beyond the diet. She has many evidences of extreme digestive difficulties. There were foods that she was not allergic to that still gave her tummy aches that caused tears and anguish. She also had symptoms of various vitamin and mineral deficiencies, especially calcium and CoQ10. She had symptoms of possible yeast overgrowth, including a tummy that was distended after eating yeast-promoting foods. Etcetera.

    We had her on a regular multivitamin {you have no idea how hard it is to find an affordable multivitamin that is free of common allergens}, but it wasn’t working fast enough. I put myself on a deadline. Either I figure out what was wrong with her {or, more aptly, what was lacking in her nutrition}, or I start pursuing professional help.

    And professional help might not actually help {many parents I know with these difficulties spend years shopping for a doctor or nutritionist that is effective}, but it would cost us a lot.

    So I read and I researched and I thought I discovered the root issues. After talking with my husband, I had a little shopping spree over at the ASD Market. I think I spent around $150.

    If you know me, then you know that means I was getting desperate.

    When the supplements arrived, it dawned on me that if I started them all at once, I would never know if they were all working. Let’s say I gave her all of them, and in three days she was 100% better. Did that mean I needed to repurchase all the supplements when I ran out? Or was there really only one or two that were doing the trick, and the others were incidental? Conversely, if she responded poorly, how would I know which one was bothering her? Surely they wouldn’t all cause trouble.

    So I decided to begin what I call my testdrive protocol. My rule of thumb was a two-week trial. Not that every supplement needed to be tested for two weeks, but two weeks was the maximum amount of time I gave myself for deciding whether a supplement was effective, detrimental, or simply neutral.

    The first supplement helped, in obvious ways, within a week. It did exactly what I expected. So we moved on. The second supplement {which was actually a combination of two supplements designed to work together} hurt her tummy terribly. I did some research and found that this was common in a certain number of kids. We discontinued that one. The third helped, and so did the fourth.

    Results? Out of the six or seven supplements I purchased, so far she only really needs about half of them. Testdriving supplements one at a time seems to be a bigger cost-saving measure {in the long run} than I had anticipated!

    Now, if one of those great doctors I’ve read about had done some blood tests and told me exactly where she was lacking {not that my insurance would cover such a test}, I probably wouldn’t have done this. I would have had empirical evidence that what I was giving her was necessary. But when supplements are being given based on symptoms, I think we need to act like scientists. Add one thing at a time, and take care to watch and observe the child’s response.

    Our daughter, by the way, is doing great. Like I said, someday I will tell the story of our journey with her. But today I rest in the fact that my children are, by all appearances, finally normal, healthy, active, and happy.


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