Researchers find enriched infant formulas benefit brain and heart

September 19, 2011, University of Kansas

University of Kansas scientists have found new evidence that infant formulas fortified with long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA) are good for developing brains and hearts.

In the randomized, double-blind study, 122 term infants were fed one of four formulas from birth to 12 months; three with varying levels of two LCPUFAs ( and ARA) and one formula with no LCPUFA, and tested at four, six and nine months of age.

By simultaneously measuring the and visual of infants while they looked at images of adult human faces, John Colombo and Susan Carlson found that infants who were fed fortified formula were more cognitively advanced and their heart rates were lower than infants who were fed formula without LCPUFA. The formula with the lowest level of LCPUFA — 0.3 percent level — was found to be sufficient to produce these benefits.

The study is the first randomized clinical trial of postnatal DHA supplementation to measure attention.

Colombo, a neuroscientist who specializes in the measurement of early neurocognitive development, said that the findings add to the mounting evidence that these nutritional compounds positively affect brain and behavioral development.

DHA or docosahexaenoic acid is an essential long-chain fatty-acid that affects brain and eye development, and babies derive it from their mothers before birth and up to age two. But the American diet is often deficient in DHA sources such as fish.

ARA or arachidonic acid is another LCPUFA that is present in breast milk and commercial formula.

The study was published in the October 2011 issue of Pediatric Research.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Women run faster after taking newly developed supplement, study finds

January 19, 2018
A new study found that women who took a specially prepared blend of minerals and nutrients for a month saw their 3-mile run times drop by almost a minute.

Americans are getting more sleep

January 19, 2018
Although more than one in three Americans still don't get enough sleep, a new analysis shows first signs of success in the fight for more shut eye. According to data from 181,335 respondents aged 15 and older who participated ...

Wine is good for you—to a point

January 18, 2018
The Mediterranean diet has become synonymous with healthy eating, but there's one thing in it that stands out: It's cool to drink wine.

Sleep better, lose weight?

January 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Sleeplessness could cost you when it's time to stand on your bathroom scale, a new British study suggests.

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.