All Infant Formula Should Contain DHA and ARA

Saturday, March 29, 2008 19:13
Posted in category Kid's Health, Nutrition

FormulaI have to admit that when I started seeing formula supplemented with the fatty acids DHA and ARA on store shelves around the time our oldest daughter was born, I thought it was all a big excuse to raise formula prices. I figured parents were being duped into buying these newer, more expensive formulas, just like they’d been convinced of the need for more expensive “name brand” formula in the first place.

I guess I have to change my tune now though, because a recent article by international experts on infant nutrition recommends that all infant formula should include DHA at the recommended levels of between 0.2% and 0.5% of fatty acids and the amount of ARA should be at least equal to the DHA level.

The omega-3 fatty acid DHA and the omega-6 fatty acid ARA have both been shown to be essential for optimal brain and eye development in infants. ARA is also a precursor to a group of substances that play a role in immunity, blood clotting and other vital functions. These fatty acids are particularly important during the third trimester of pregnancy and the first two years of life , when brain growth is very rapid.

It’s important to realize that experts still recommend breastfeeding as the optimal source of infant nutrition, but in the case when formula is needed, it should contain DHA and ARA at the recommended levels.

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3 Responses to “All Infant Formula Should Contain DHA and ARA”

  1. mike pescatore says:

    December 25th, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    Really? The DHA/ARA used in infant formula are structurally different from natural sources.Esterified differently and utilized by infants in a manner that is undetermined.The current opinion by the leading experts DOES NOT support use of DHA/ARA as a beneficial ingredient for brain and eye development.The effects of increasing the unsaturation index of lipid bilayers are not fully understood by researchers.Esterification differences make these novel oils more vulnerable to oxidation and likely to initiate oxidative stress.This is only the tip of the iceberg.May disrupt palmitoylation and protein signaling.I think you may want to do some further research before telling others that they should use DHA/ARA(or more accurately DHASCO/ARASCO) supplemented infant formulas.

  2. Kristie says:

    December 25th, 2009 at 3:34 pm


    First off, this article was written nearly 2 years ago, so it is certainly not the most recent data or opinion on the issue.

    Second, I wasn’t telling anyone what to use in their formula, I was reporting what international experts on infant nutrition were recommending at the time the article was written. You could have followed the link provided to see that, and complain to them if you disagree.

    Third, who are your leading experts, and where are they saying this? The mainstream ob and pediatric community certainly is recommending DHA supplements for pregnant mothers, and DHA/ARA containing formulas for infants.


  3. Sarita Remington says:

    December 17th, 2010 at 9:15 am

    Be sure to buy omega-3 fatty acid supplements made by established companies who certify that their products are free of heavy metals such as mercury…lead…and cadmium.