My Top 10 Supplements for Kids

September 3, 2014
Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Award-winning nutritionist and New York Times bestselling author.

Back to School Control for ADHD, Immunity, and Weight Control.

1. Fish Oil

The most remarkable news about omega 3-rich fish oil is its dramatic effect on children.  Numerous studies over the past three decades have demonstrated that kids with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) had lower omega-3 levels than their “normal” peers.

Fish oil is high in the essential fatty acids DHA and EPA, but DHA especially has been shown to improve a variety of learning disorders including dyslexia.

If your child needs to improve his/her ability to focus and concentrate, a teaspoon of Carlson’s The Very Finest Fish Oil provides the study-backed dose of 500 mg DHA that improves learning disabilities.

Mixed in salad dressing, used as a topping on non-GMO popcorn, or drizzled on veggies, fish oil improves mental health and is good for the whole family…with no fishy aftertaste and a hint of lemon!

2. Y-C Cleanse

This anti-yeast remedy is a godsend for children who suffer from constant earaches, are anxious, itchy and irritable, are bothered by recurrent urinary infections and/or who have taken a prolonged course of antibiotics.

Yeast overgrowth—due to stress, leaky gut syndrome, and medications—is an underlying cause for weakened immunity, and a potent metabolic trigger for never-ending sugar cravings and fatigue.

This tried and true liquid formula can be mixed with juice and/or water at half the adult dosage for most young children. After a period of mild detox, Y-C  Cleanse will then start to quell hunger for sweets and also foster greater relaxation and alertness.

Taken daily for maintenance first thing in the morning, this remedy is ideal as a preventative during holidays and celebrations when excess sugar abounds.

3. Melatonin

Sleep is more important than ever for children who are in school and need to readjust to shorter days and less outdoor activity.  At a dosage of 1 to 3 mg, melatonin is a natural hormone which can re-establish daily circadian rhythms and do double duty as a potent natural sleep aid.

When my nephew Isaac was ten and couldn’t shut his mind off and go to sleep at night, my brother and his wife started him on 3 mg of Melatonin nightly for several months—a regimen which ultimately allowed him to become sleepy and drift off to sleep when no other natural remedy worked.

Today, Isaac is a college freshman ready to embark on a demanding sports medicine career and he sleeps like a baby!

Keeping all electronics and digital gadgets unplugged and powered off before bed are also helpful hints that can make a huge impact on your child’s ability to sleep soundly and deeply.

4. Vitamin D3

Lessening sun exposure during fall and water results in less Vitamin D absorption.  This hormone-like vitamin is absolutely essential to ward off flu and colds during the cooler seasons.

Vitamin D is critical for bone development as well as overall immune enhancement and can even help to stave off depression.

Taking an annual Vitamin D blood test is the best way to monitor levels.  In general, a supplement of at least 1,000 mg of D3 for children can be safely taken especially if warranted by yearly Vitamin D testing.

Most children whom I have tested are woefully deficient as are adults who are even out in the sun!  Our prolific use of sunscreens has blocked efficient absorption, so a D test is a must.

5. Olive Leaf Extract

The best natural antibiotic to treat colds or flu is a 15% extract of olive leaf providing 75 mg of Oleuropein per capsule. This standardized extract is very effective as a potent viral fighter. I prefer the DaVinci Olivir-15.

See if you can find something similar to keep in your health arsenal for your family (also available from UNI KEY at 800-888-4353). The product will help to stimulate the immune system.

6. Gelatin

An often overlooked source of nutrition, pasture-raised beef gelatin is high in collagen promoting amino acids like L-Proline which is helpful for the strong development of nail, hair, skin, and joint tissues.

I like Great Lakes Gelatin which is kosher and the purest I have found.

It makes a wonderful preservative-free “jello” for fruit-juice based desserts sprinkled with nuts, seeds, or coconuts. Two tablespoons is the suggested amount.

7. Throat Spray

At the first sign of throat infection, Everyday Throat Spray coats and protects the throat against viral and bacterial invaders.  It soothes scratchiness and irritation, and a couple of sprays per day is all it takes.

Everyday Throat Spray contains organic/wildcrafted herbs to help support immunity, enhance oral health, freshen bad breath and support healthy respiratory function.

It uniquely features the following:

  • Osha (Ligusticum porteri) Root – powerful antiviral and antibacterial agent, used for bronchial infections and sore throats.*
  • Fresh Echinacea Angustifolia Root – considered one of the most popular herbal supplements for respiratory health. It is thought to stimulate the body’s immune system.*
  • Colloidal Silver (15 ppm) – supports the immune system.*
  • Licorice Root – used as a dietary supplement for stomach ulcers, bronchitis, and sore throat, as well as infections caused by viruses.*
  • Ginger Root – used as both a spice and in herbal medicine.
  • Peppermint – used as a general digestive aid and employed in the treatment of indigestion and intestinal colic by herbalists.

8. Eucalyptus Essential Oil

Eucalyptus is a wonderful oil to use on the chest and lung area at the first sign of respiratory problems and congestion. Sniffing the oil or putting a drop on a tissue and breathing it in will help relieve sinus conditions.

There are many fine brands of essential oils available at your local health food store or through a distributor.

9. Vitamin K-2

A critical vitamin for getting calcium deposited in the bone and not in the joints or other soft tissues, K-2 is usually derived from pasture-raised dairy.

It can be found in a well balanced children’s vitamin like Nature’s Plus Animal Parade Gold.

10. Probiotics

The GI tract’s best friend to protect against irritable bowel syndrome, allergies, diarrhea and constipation, probiotics are also the best insurance for a lean and trim body as the balance of gut microbes impacts weight loss.

Flora-Key powdered probiotic doubles as a prebiotic, so it nourishes the gut flora and provides the five most important strains for children’s health including the L. plantarum strain so helpful against colitis and irritable bowel syndrome.

It is also easily adaptable for children. Simply use ½ the adult amount (or ½ scoop) at least once per day.

It is the perfect accompaniment to smoothies, applesauce, or as an added boost to yogurt or kefir to bump up the colony-forming units (CFUs) to the billions—just what your GI tract needs on a daily basis!

Related Articles and Podcasts

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

I’d like to meet and greet you on my Facebook groups, so won’t you check us out at the Radical Metabolism RevolutionFat Flush Nation, or my Inner Circle!


  1. C

    Ann Louise, thank you very much.
    This is needed info for sure!

  2. Sue

    This information is so helpful! Thank you so much for addressing children’s health. I have been giving my 2 year old daughter Flora-key for about 3 months now after chronic ear infections resulted in much discomfort and 2 antibiotic prescriptions. She is much improved in her immunity and temperament- no more earaches! It is a blessing.
    I also am a believer in the healing power of gelatin. I make my own chicken and beef bone broth- use it for soups, cooking rice and quinoa, and sipping for upset tummies.
    Thank you again for sharing your wealth of knowledge!

  3. Monica

    I appreciate all the information also. However, if I were to purchase all these supplements, it would be $110 a month, and I have 4 kids — I just don’t have $440 a month for that, no matter how much I want my kids to be healthy. I’d love to see more information on getting similar benefits from real food.

    • Team ALG

      Hi Monica, There are many ways to improve your children’s health through diet. This blog was intended to highlight supplemental nutrition, which is increasingly important in our toxic world. Here are a few tips:
      Avoid added sugars, refined and processed foods, and anything with artificial food coloring.
      An ounce or two of tart cherry juice, taken about an hour before bed time, is a wonderfully effective source of melatonin.
      Fermented cod liver oil does double duty by offering DHA and EPA, vitamin D, and vitamin A.
      Traditionally prepared bone broth is a nourishing food rich in gelatin, and very affordable to make.
      Raw dairy products from a trusted source that has impeccable standards of cleanliness and proper handling are a rich source of K2, vitamin D, and probiotics.
      You can prepare traditional ferments like sauerkraut and pickles to provide additional probiotic bacteria.

      • Monica

        Thank you, Team ALG. I am glad to have the information. I do try some of the things already. I have found that cooking rice with homemade bone broth has been a great hit, and when we can have it, they also love homemade chicken noodle soup. I have just started fermenting veggies, and like Kelly, only my hubby will eat them so far, but they do eat my homemade yogurt. I am not against supplements, but only have so much $$ to spend.

  4. Kelly Turner

    Thank you Ann Louise for this amazing list of supplements. While I can certainly empathize with Monica, the truth is that sometimes all the best food in the world is not enough to ward off virulent virus and bacteria.

    I am very grateful for your insightful list and plan to stock up on at least three of your recommendations: the Flora Key probiotic, the throat spray, and a more potent Vitamin D3 dose for my ten-year-old son.

    I have tried to ferment and culture vegetables for the kids but they won’t eat them. They are not fond of bone broth so I am making gelatin type desserts for them as you suggest.

    Thanks for all you do in helping us stay healthy!

  5. Caroline

    Thanks Ann Louise – this is very helpful!

  6. Dee

    Thank you Ann Louise, I know I have incorporated some of these things for my kiddos to keep them healthy and hopefully safe from the many viruses floating around! I take the Fish oil, Vit D and the YC and Flora Key faithfully too, I just started with the Throat spay as well so I am getting a double jump on things 🙂

  7. Nicole R.

    Dear Ann Louise:

    I have been using the throat spray ever since you started writing about it several years ago. It can stop and soothe a sore throat in its tracks, I am happy to report.

    I also agree with your other recommendations and want to add one of my own – elderberry extract to fight the flu!

    My whole family takes the fish oil, melatonin, K2 and probiotics. Now I will share the throat spray with my kids, too 🙂

    Keep up the good work and thanks for constantly sharing your wisdom with us.

  8. Kelly

    Looking forward to hear from you

  9. Debbie

    Do you have any recommendations for acne prone skin? My daughter is 11 1/2 and has horrible breakouts on her face, chest and back. The pediatrician prescribed Epiduo (adapalene and benzoyl peroxide)and I’ve started her on a multi (Active Health Teen with DermaComplex) by Rainbow Light. I’m not sure what has helped the most, but her skin has improved. I know it must be hormonal. Is there anything else she can take that would help? I don’t want her to have permanent scars.

  10. Team ALG


    ALG recommends that your daughter completely avoids all dairy products (even organic) as dairy contains over thirty different hormones naturally secreted by a cow and this can trigger acne. She also recommends that wheat be avoided and other grains (like quinoa and wild rice) be substituted instead.

    Our GLA 90’s (at 2,2X per day) may help with moisture and clarity and help to reduce inflammation.

    Lastly our Zinc Plus (a zinc plus methionine) offers wonderful acne protection. It is a Trace Elements product that ALG’s distributor also sells. Very good for teens at one per day!!

    Please call Sierra at UNI KEY (1-800-888-4353) for more information on all of the above.

    Sounds like you are on the right track.

  11. Gee

    I have read some negative things about Melatonin for children. My biggest concern is I have read it interferes with their development during puberity. One other reading was about the kids feeling sluggish and groggy the next day. I think Melatonin is a great suppliment and I was very disappointed to read this. I have two children who are very competitive athletes and sometimes the night before a race they get very nervous and have a hard time sleeping so I thought the Melatonin would do the trick to help thme get to sleep fast and have a nice sound good nights sleep before the big day, but they can’t be sluggish the next day. Please advise. On another note anything recommended to help with childrens endurance.

    • Team ALG

      Hi Gee, a dietary approach would be to let your children enjoy a small amount of tart cherry juice before bed. Tart cherries are a rich source of melatonin and some people feel better getting it from a natural food source. Also, a serving of high quality whey protein before bed can promote a restful night’s sleep, as well as up to 400 mg of magnesium.

      • Gee

        Sorry it has taken me a bit to reply. But I too really appreciate your taking the time to answer questions. I have been a big fat flush and Dr. Ann Louise since 1993. Thanks for the great alternatives. I have been using a little Melatonin here and there with my children. Cherries are no longer in season. Magnesium is be a good alternative also. I what are your thoughts on pea protien? Does it have the same effect at bed time that Whey does?

        • Team ALG

          Whey protein is ideal for healing and restoration overnight, but a quality pea and rice protein will offer some of the same benefits. Just make sure it is quality and purity tested and the rice is not from China, in which case heavy metal toxicity is a concern. The Fat Flush Body Protein is a perfect option.

  12. Mandy T.

    Thank you, Dr. Ann Louise, for taking the time to answer questions – which many other professionals of your stature don’t do. I for one am very grateful for you and your team. Many thanks….

  13. Amanda

    Eucalyptus essential oil is not safe for children under 6. Just thought I’d mention it. 🙂

  14. AnnLouise


    Thanks for your post. For children, the eucalyptus oil must be diluted with a carrier oil and used with great moderation. Children under 2 should not have the oil rubbed on skin at all.

  15. Robyn

    My daughter is 5’1″ , she is 12 years old. She is having a problem loosing belly fat. I suspect it’s all the ear infection meds and allergy medicines she took when she was younger. How can I get her cleaned out and on her way to recovery safely? The Dr. Always claim it’s there diet, but she isn’t that bad of eater.

    • Team ALG

      GLA from black currant seed oil would be recommended in her case, possibly along with CLA from safflower and sunflower oils. These fatty acids bump up the rate of metabolism and target the midsection area.

  16. Kathy

    Thereapeutic grade essential oils have been a livesaver for my kids while in school. So glad she mentioned them!

  17. rubab

    Can u please suggest any good multivitamin and iron supplement for teens available in canada. One of my daughter is 13yrs old and she constantly complains of low energy and aches and pains and headaches she is putting on weight lately 5.3″ and 64 kg .I got her physical done all the tests are fine including thyroid but bit low on iron.

    • Team ALG

      Rubab, teens can take the Dieter’s Multi Vitamin with great success. It is available with iron. I’d also suggest that you look at getting a Hair Tissue Mineral test for your daughter. At that age it is common to be high in copper because of estrogen which can cause the symptoms you are mentioning. This test and the Dieter’s Multi- Vitamin are available at


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