Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Breast is best, but infant formula must contain DHA omega-3 and AA omega-6, say experts

28.02.2008
In the recommendations, the expert team emphasizes that breastfeeding is the preferred method of feeding, as DHA and AA are available in breast milk.

However, when the mother is unable, or chooses not to breastfeed, infant formula should include DHA at the recommended levels of between 0.2% and 0.5% of fatty acids and the amount of AA should be at least equal to the DHA level. The experts also note that the addition of at least 0.2% DHA plus AA is necessary to achieve functional developmental benefits.

"Over the past decade many research studies have highlighted the importance of DHA omega-3 and AA omega-6 in infant development,” said Professor Stewart Forsyth, Medical Director at Ninewells Hospital and Medical School. “It is therefore vital that pregnant and nursing mothers consume adequate amounts of DHA in their own diet, and, if using an infant formula, should provide their infants with a formula containing DHA and AA at recommended levels,”

About DHA omega-3 and AA omega-6
Docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, is a long-chain polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acid, or ‘good’ fat, found throughout the body. It is a major structural fat in the brain and retina of the eye accounting for up to 97 percent of the omega-3 fats in the brain and up to 93 percent of the omega-3 fats in the retina. It is also a key component of the heart.

Studies have shown that DHA omega-3 is important for infant brain, eye and nervous system development and has been shown to support long-term heart health. It is important throughout pregnancy, but particularly in the third trimester when significant brain growth occurs.

Arachidonic acid, AA, is a long-chain omega-6 fatty acid, another ‘good’ fat. It is the principal omega-6 in the brain, representing about 48 percent of the omega-6 fats. Like DHA, AA omega-6 is important for proper brain development in infants. It is also a precursor to a group of hormone-like substances called eicosanoids that play a role in immunity, blood clotting and other vital functions in the body.

Infants whose mothers supplement with DHA during pregnancy and nursing or who are fed formula milk supplemented with DHA and AA have significantly enhanced levels of these nutrients available to them. Major infant brain growth occurs during pregnancy and throughout the first two years of life. During these times, infants have the greatest need for DHA omega-3 and AA omega-6.

DHA and AA in the diet

The main dietary source of DHA is oily fish. AA is found in foods such as meat, eggs and milk. While most women typically consume enough AA in their diets, those who consume a typical Western diet are at risk for low stores of DHA. This may be because oily fish is not a staple of the typical Western diet. Additionally, expert bodies have advised pregnant and nursing women to limit their fish consumption due to the potentially high levels of toxins such as mercury.

The amount of essential fatty acids provided to infants through maternal intake during pregnancy and/or breastfeeding and through supplemented formula milks is important. Babies cannot make these essential fats themselves, which is why it is vital that they are made available via the mother’s diet during pregnancy and breastfeeding or through supplemented infant formula.

Pregnant and lactating women can ensure their babies get enough DHA by eating a diet rich in DHA, including fish and vegetarian sources. Women can meet the recommended intake of DHA during pregnancy by consuming one to two portions of sea fish per week. A good alternative to oily fish is to take vegetarian dietary supplements containing DHA or to eat foods fortified with vegetarian DHA.

Women who are unable to breastfeed or choose not to breastfeed should look for infant formula which includes the recommended amounts of DHA and AA. If the levels are not indicated on the label, mothers should consult their health care provider.

About the recommendations:
The Recommendations and Guidelines for Perinatal Medicine were developed by a team of 19 experts from 11 countries who reviewed the current research and recommendations on DHA and AA and evaluated the body of research exploring how DHA & AA affect infant brain and eye development. The expert team, which included experts from Italy, France, Germany, Spain and the UK concluded that both DHA and AA should be added to infant formula in order to provide formula-fed infants these important nutrients at a comparable rate to their breastfed counterparts. The guidelines also recommend that pregnant or breastfeeding women should include enough DHA in their diets to support the brain and eye development of their babies. The Recommendations and Guidelines for Perinatal Medicine were supported by the World Association of Perinatal Medicine, the Early Nutrition Academy , and the Child Health Foundation.

The Recommendations and Guidelines for Perinatal Medicine were developed at a meeting of the European Expert Committee on LCPUFAs in Perinatology. This scientific workshop was financially supported by Martek Biosciences. Martek produces life'sDHA™, a vegetarian source of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA , for use in foods, infant formula, and supplements, and life’sAA™, an omega-6 fatty acid, for use in infant formula.

Summary of the recommendations:

-The authors emphasise the importance of a balanced diet for breastfeeding women, including a regular supply of DHA

-Pregnant women should aim for a DHA intake of at least 200mg a day (equivalent to two portions of oily sea fish per week)

-If breast milk is not available to the baby, current evidence supports the addition of DHA and AA to infant formula

-The DHA added should make up between 0.2% and 0.5% of fatty acids, [noting that 0.2% is the minimum level necessary to see functional developmental benefits]

-Infant formula should be supplemented with AA in amounts at least equal to the amount of DHA

-EPA, another omega-3 fatty acid, should be less than the amount of DHA

-Dietary supply of DHA and AA should continue during the second six months of life, but experts do not have enough information to recommend exact amounts

Antonio Marín Ruiz | alfa
Further information:
http://prensa.ugr.es/prensa/investigacion/verNota/prensa.php?nota=4310

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Study tracks inner workings of the brain with new biosensor
16.08.2018 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht Foods of the future
15.08.2018 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: It’s All in the Mix: Jülich Researchers are Developing Fast-Charging Solid-State Batteries

There are currently great hopes for solid-state batteries. They contain no liquid parts that could leak or catch fire. For this reason, they do not require cooling and are considered to be much safer, more reliable, and longer lasting than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Jülich scientists have now introduced a new concept that allows currents up to ten times greater during charging and discharging than previously described in the literature. The improvement was achieved by a “clever” choice of materials with a focus on consistently good compatibility. All components were made from phosphate compounds, which are well matched both chemically and mechanically.

The low current is considered one of the biggest hurdles in the development of solid-state batteries. It is the reason why the batteries take a relatively long...

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A paper battery powered by bacteria

21.08.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Protein interaction helps Yersinia cause disease

21.08.2018 | Life Sciences

Biosensor allows real-time oxygen monitoring for 'organs-on-a-chip'

21.08.2018 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>