DHA and Early Brain Development
Researchers have previously shown that long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs) play an important role in brain development1
* Average level of DHA worldwide in breast milk is 0.32% + 0.22% (mean + standard deviation of total fatty acids) based on an analysis of 65 studies of 2474 women. 8
Retinal function can be considered a “window to the brain.”
A study published in 2013 involved 81 formula-fed children who were enrolled from birth and through 6 years.10
Results revealed that
For the preterm infant, the DHA accretion that occurs during the third trimester--when brain mass more than doubles--is abruptly interrupted.11-13
"Nutrition during early life is now recognized not only as a key determinant for immediate neonatal survival, growth, and mental development during infancy, but also as a major conditioning factor for long-term health.” – 2014 Global Expert Recommendations15
**2014 Global Expert Recommendations for DHA: 16.4 mg – 55 mg per 100 kcal15**
Listen to Dr. John Colombo discuss the DIAMOND Study, a trial of LCPUFA postnatal dietary supplementation. This video will review the results of the study and examine cognitive development, testing, and how to properly interpret cognitive tests from infancy to early childhood.
John Colombo, PhD Professor of Psychology Director, Life Span Research Institute University of Kansas Lawrence, KS
ARA = arachidonic acid; DHA = docosahexaenoic acid; LCPUFA = long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid
References: 1. Calder J et al, eds. Scientific review: The role of nutrients in immune function of infants and young children; emerging evidence for long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids. Mead Johnson. 2007;1-40. 2. Morale SE, Hoffman DR, Castañeda YS, et al.Duration of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids availability in the diet and visual acuity. Early Hum Dev. 2005;81:197-203. 3. Dobbing J et al. Arch Dis Child. 1973;48:757-767. 4. Martinez M. Tissue levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids during early human development. J Pediatr. 1992; 120:S129-S138. 5. Haggarty P et al. Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid transport across the perfused human placenta. Placenta. 1997;18:635-642. 6. Innis SM. Essential fatty acids in growth and development. Prog Lipid Res. 1991;40:39-103. 7. Hoffman DR et al. Visual function in breastfed term infants weaned to formula with or without long-chain polyunsaturates at 4 to 6 months: a randomized clinical trial. J Pediatr. 2003;142:669-677. 8. Brenna JT et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007; 85:1457-1464. 9. Birch EE, Hoffman DR, Uauy R, et al. Visual acuity and the essentiality of docosahexaenoic acid and arachidonic acid in the diet of term infants. Pediatr Res. 1998;44:201-209. 10. Colombo J et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 2013;98:403-412. 11. Henriksen C et al. Pediatrics. 2008;121:1137-1145. 12. Clandinin MT et al. J Pediatr. 2005;146:461-468. 13. Haggarty P. Annu Rev Nutr. 2010;30:237-255. 14. Martin CR et al. J Pediatr 2011;159:743-749. 15. Koletzko B et al, eds. Nutritional Care of Preterm Infants: Scientific Basis and Practical Guidelines. Basel, Switzerland: Karger; 2014:1-314. 16 Koletzko B, Lien E, Agostoni C, et al. The roles of long-chain polyunsatureated fatty acids in pregnancy, lactation and infancy: review of current knowledge and consensus recommendations. J Perinat Med. 2008;36:5-14.