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You are here : 3-RX.com > Home > Pregnancy -

Preemies thrive on formula with added fatty acids

PregnancyMay 09, 05

Formula feeds containing fatty acids—specifically docosahexanoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (ARA)—may improve the development of preterm infants, new research suggests.

The findings, which appear in the Journal of Pediatrics for April, are based on a study of 361 preterm infants who were randomized to receive formula containing DHA from algal oil and ARA from fungal oil, DHA from fish oil and ARA from fungal oil, or no supplementation. The babies were compared to a group of 105 full-term breast-fed infants.

Both of the supplemented formulas were linked to better developmental outcomes than the unsupplemented formula, Dr. Deborah A. Diersen-Schade, from Mead Johnson Nutritionals in Evansville, Indiana, and colleagues report.

At 118 weeks since the mothers last menstrual period before pregnancy, the infants on the algal-DHA formula had a significantly greater weight gain than those on regular formula or infants in the fish-DHA formula group.

In fact, the weight of the algal-DHA group was comparable to that of term infants.

Infants in both supplemented formula groups scored higher on standard mental and movement-coordination tests than did those in the regular formula group.

“This clinical trial demonstrated that feeding infant formulas with median worldwide human milk levels of DHA and ARA from single-cell algal and fungal oils can enhance growth of premature infants,” the researchers conclude.

SOURCE: Journal of Pediatrics, April 2005.

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