Author(s): HaddersAlgra M
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Abstract It takes more than 20 years before the human brain obtains its complex, adult configuration. Most dramatic developmental changes occur prenatally and early postnatally. During development, long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA) such as doxosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (AA) are accreted in the brain. Since breastfeeding is associated with a better developmental outcome than formula feeding, and human milk in contrast to traditional standard formula contains LCPUFA, the question arose whether LCPUFA supplementation of infant formula may promote the neurodevelopmental outcome. The current paper reviews the evidence available in full-term infants. It concludes that postnatal supplementation of formula with LCPUFA is associated with a beneficial effect on short-term neurodevelopmental outcome. However, no evidence is available that LCPUFA supplementation enhances neurodevelopmental outcome in full-term infants beyond the age of four months. Nevertheless, it should be realized that very limited information is available on the effect of LCPUFA supplementation on neurodevelopmental outcome at school age or later. It is conceivable that effects of LCPUFA supplementation first emerge or re-emerge at school age when more complex neural functions are expressed.
This article was published in Nutrients
and referenced in Journal of Pregnancy and Child Health