Monday, November 28, 2011

Stepping up the Omega-3 supplements for Developmental Delays

Andy started out taking the Lil Critter Omega-3 gummy vitamins, and I am still giving them to his sister because we bought such a huge bottle, but the dosage of fish oil is a little low (200mg or so). He's taken them for around 4 weeks now, and I have noticed minor improvements more so than his usual snails pace improvements. So, now we're ready to move up to something more packed with omega-3 (2000 mg). I take a squeeze pack, and put it directly in my mouth, but the taste is a little too "citrusy" for Andy. He doesn't care for orange juice, so I needed to find a food item. I didn't want to mess with his morning oatmeal, because I didn't want him to start disliking it, but it mixed okay in the peach flavored oatmeal. So instead, I've been mixing the oil in a bowl for him with an orange creamsicle. It tastes great, I just smash it all up together, and he eats a whole squeeze pack now, once a day. I started out with a pea size on my finger, and would put it on the roof of his mouth, but he showed me by crying that he didn't like that.

I am seeing a nice developmental progression in Andy, and I am so happy! He will now hold his toothbrush with both hands and actually brush his teeth himself. Lately I will only brush his teeth using a hand over hand method, where his hands MUST be on the toothbrush every time we brush twice a day. I've tried this a few times before, and have given up, but this time maybe with the help of the fish oil, he will hold the brush and help. I can even let go, and he will do it himself. I have to have him sitting on the floor, I think it helps him concentrate the best.

Next, he loves hearing pat-a-cake, and has recently started clapping, but has never clapped along with the song. Now, he claps for me, while I sing. This is just so awesome. And I tell him, "come on you've got to clap while I sing", and he starts clapping. He will also say "yay" and clap at the end.

I really think the fish oil is helping, because I take it daily as well, and it seems to help my memory and cognition.

I've stopped the l-carnitine, just for the time being, because he is still SO immobile. The problem is that it gives him energy, so when he doesn't move around at all, he isn't burning up the energy he already has. So, it backfired on me, and he wouldn't nap for me, he wasn't tired enough. He was also starting to really protest going to bed at night, so I've cut it out for now. However, I will give it to him if I start to see him crawl. He will be able to use the extra energy boost then, but right now he doesn't burn off enough of the energy he already has. I've read about people with CP taking it, and they feel it greatly helps them with their walking and endurance to walk or even jog. So, I'll keep it around for when needed.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

We are trying supplements for developmental delays

The last few months, I've been lost again. Down about Andy, and feeling hopeless. He is now 30 months old, and no sitting up yet, or crawling, or pulling to stand. He does roll around. After a lot of prayer, not only for Andy, but for myself, I feel compelled to try supplements for Andy. I've been asking for strength to keep leading Andy in the right direction, and find him the help he needs. PT, OT, I've lost faith. After a year and some change, we've really seen no results. We just have the school therapists visiting right now, I don't feel the "extra" therapy visits done in a private office are benefiting us at all. Just more of the same.

Now on to the supplements. We, as a family, have all started taking fish oil/ omega 3 gummy vitamins. The kids are taking lil' critters omega 3 vitamins. They contain DHA, which the brain loves, so I love it. I also got adult ones for myself and husband. After visiting the Vitamin Shoppe, I am now trying an orange flavored fish oil "squeeze pack", which has 2000mg of fish oil in it. Nearly 300% of what you need. The kids are getting a small amount on top of their gummy vitamins, which only contain around 200mg of fish oil. The squeeze pack can go right into your mouth, or into a small cup of juice, smoothie, or in food.

I am seeing a difference after 2-3 weeks in myself, and in Andy. My memory is very sharp. I've always had a good memory, but now it's real good. No more mom brain, the haze has lifted. With Andy, I'm seeing him progress slightly faster than usual. His usual progression is pretty non-existent. He's been at a 9 month level for a year and a half. Now he's clapping his hands, pointing more, trying to push up on his hands, and just seems more awakened. He gets his omega 3 vitamins every morning after breakfast, they are right on the kitchen counter so that they are easily accessible. He can chew them up on his own, which is a blessing for Andy. They taste like a fruit snack.

I have also pursued L-carnitine supplements. I spoke to Andy's Physical and Rehabilitative doctor about it first. She says it is a common part of the treatment regimen for kids with Mitochondrial disease. But since Andy hasn't officially been diagnosed with anything, besides brain underdevelopment and hypotonia, she didn't suggest it for him. I have discovered that it is also used for kids with autism and ADHD, and has gotten results of a better attention span, increased focus, and reduced hyperactivity. Fragile X kids also get the benefit of reduced aggressive behavior from it. So, what can it hurt to try?

The main reason I want to give it to him is to increase his endurance. Kids with low muscle tone tend to fatigue quickly. I want him to be able to work with me for longer periods of time before getting tired and cranky at home doing PT stuff. I read that too much L-carnitine can cause stomach upset, so I am proceeding with caution and starting out with a low dose.

The L-carnitine is a liquid, also from the Vitamin Shoppe. It is raspberry flavored and tastes really good, like a raspberry freeze pop. I draw up one teaspoon into a medicine dispensing plunger from the drug store and squirt it right into his mouth. The treatment regimen for someone with autism or ADHD is 500 to 1000 mg a day. I am giving Andy 1 teaspoon after lunch, and 1 teaspoon after dinner, or breakfast and dinner. This amounts to about 700 mg a day. The first day, I only gave 350 mg (about one tsp), and watched for stomach upset, but didn't see any. A much higher dose l-carnitine can be purchased, but I started out with the lowest dose one.

I like what I'm seeing with just a few days of L-carnitine. Much more movement, he has more energy to pursue movement. He is more rambunctious, and I can push him further in his gait trainer, and in four point. He is trying harder to sit up from the floor. I think he simply has more energy and endurance. I've been amazed at what I'm seeing with first, three weeks of the omega-3, then introducing the L-carnitine just over the past week. I researched the internet for answers about developmental disabilities and supplements, and found scholarly articles showing positive results from both supplements. It was good enough for me. I am still waiting to see if this supplement will have a negative effect on his naps. If so, I'll have to cut it back, or cut it out.

If this works, it could be the beginning of Andrew catching up to his age. I'm thinking if he can catch up a few days every week, maybe he can make up a few months soon. The DHA bath his brain is getting, has to be good for catching him up to speed. I am doing it for myself as well. I figure I am not actively trying to learn anything right now, so I thought maybe I'd try to start learning a language or studying something to see how well I can pick it up. We learn what we need in college, then stop pursuing learning when we're done. Maybe, if I pursue learning something new, I can start to pick up some new skills just like I'd like Andy to.

I'm excited for both of us to give these supplements a good trial, for at least 6 months. So, I'll see where we are both at by Andy's third birthday in May.