Long Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids: The Case For And Against The Supplementation Of Infant Formula

1176 words - 5 pages


The following paper investigates the role of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs) and its effects on infants to determine whether or not there is beneficial to supplement LCPUFAs in infant products. A brief introduction to the topic is provided and the key concepts defined, after which thorough analysis of a variety of studies is conducted.

Word Count: 1024

In neural structure, the specific LCPUFAs, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (AA) can be found. DHA is a component of neurone membranes and external segments of fotoreceptors in the retina. In the ...view middle of the document...

Dietary n-3 fatty acids are able to affect the retina and visual acuity by influencing their rate of development [5].

Consequences of deficiency

LCPUFA deficiency in children can manifest into a condition known as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), used to describe children who are inattentive, impulsive and hyperactive [6]. These behaviours may affect school performance, family relations and social interactions with peers. ADHD has been associated with conditions that cause neurological impairment [2]. N-3 fatty acids deficiency leads to impaired neurotransmitter reception in brain and altered neuronal plasticity. In addition, skin changes unresponsive to linoleic acid supplementation, abnormal visual function and peripheral neuropathy would be happened of deficiency of n-3 fatty acids [7]. Unfortunately, the process of synthesis of LCPUFA is unable to infants.

Evidence on reduces heart rate

Based on a double-blind, randomised, controlled, parallel-group perspective trial, 122 term infants were fed one of four formulas varying in their DHA composition from birth to 12 months; three with varying levels of two LCPUFAs (DHA and AA) and one formula with no LCPUFA (control formula), tested at aged of 4, 6 and 9 months and measured the heart rate during the administration of the visual attention task [3]. This trial involved those healthy, term, formula-fed, singleton-birth infants. Infants were fed the study formula for the first 12 months without limits.

In the result shown, infants’ heart rate change consistently with age, overall, heart rate in beats per minute declined from 146 to 138 to 133 at 4, 6 and 9 months, respectively. The results have shown the positive effects of postnatal DHA supplementation in term infants typically more than 0.20% total fatty acids as DHA. Moreover, lower heart rate was shown consistently for all three supplemented groups, relative to controls. The increased intake of n-3 LCPUFA will affect the reduction or increased of heart rate, however, the effect of lowering heart rate in adult populations is viewed as a positive health outcome and has been suggested to impart positive impacts on affective, cognitive and behavioural outcomes [3].

Evidence of visual acuity

A double-masked, randomised trial found a specific benefit if dietary DHA for retinal maturation and visual acuity development at 2 sites. 343 healthy, term, formula-fed infants were enrolled at 1-9 days of age and were randomly assigned to be fed 1 of the following 4 infant formulas containing equivalent nutrient amounts, except for LCPUFA: control (0% DHA), 0.32% DHA, 0.64% DHA or 0.96% DHA. Visual acuity was measured by visual evoked...

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