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1.  The influence of a formula supplemented with dairy lipids and plant oils on the erythrocyte membrane omega-3 fatty acid profile in healthy full-term infants: a double-blind randomized controlled trial 
BMC Pediatrics  2012;12:164.
Human milk is the optimal nutrition for infants. When breastfeeding is not possible, supplementation of infant formula with long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids appears to promote neurodevelopmental outcome and visual function. Plant oils, that are the only source of fat in most of infant formulas, do not contain specific fatty acids that are present in human and cow milk and do not encounter milk fat triglyceride structure. Experimental data suggest that a mix of dairy lipids and plant oils can potentiate endogenous synthesis of n-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids. This trial aims to determine the effect of an infant formula supplemented with a mixture of dairy lipids and plant oils on the erythrocyte membrane omega-3 fatty acid profile in full-term infants (primary outcome). Erythrocyte membrane long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids and fatty acids content, the plasma lipid profile and the insulin-growth factor 1 level, the gastrointestinal tolerance, the changes throughout the study in blood fatty acids content, in growth and body composition are evaluated as secondary outcomes.
In a double-blind controlled randomized trial, 75 healthy full-term infants are randomly allocated to receive for four months a formula supplemented with a mixture of dairy lipids and plant oils or a formula containing only plant oils or a formula containing plant oils supplemented with arachidonic acid and docosahexaenoic acid. Twenty-five breast-fed infants constitute the reference group. Erythrocyte membrane omega-3 fatty acid profile, long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids and the other fatty acids content, the plasma lipid profile and the insulin-growth factor 1 level are measured after four months of intervention. Gastrointestinal tolerance, the changes in blood fatty acids content, in growth and body composition, assessed by means of an air displacement plethysmography system, are also evaluated throughout the study.
The achievement of an appropriate long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids status represents an important goal in neonatal nutrition. Gaining further insight in the effects of the supplementation of a formula with dairy lipids and plant oils in healthy full-term infants could help to produce a formula whose fat content, composition and structure is more similar to human milk.
Trial registration Identifier NCT01611649
PMCID: PMC3480864  PMID: 23072617
Full-term infants; Formula supplementation; Dairy lipids; Erythrocyte membrane omega-3 fatty acid profile
2.  The influence of long chain polyunsaturate supplementation on docosahexaenoic acid and arachidonic acid in baboon neonate central nervous system 
BMC Medicine  2005;3:11.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (ARA) are major components of the cerebral cortex and visual system, where they play a critical role in neural development. We quantitatively mapped fatty acids in 26 regions of the four-week-old breastfed baboon CNS, and studied the influence of dietary DHA and ARA supplementation and prematurity on CNS DHA and ARA concentrations.
Baboons were randomized into a breastfed (B) and four formula-fed groups: term, no DHA/ARA (T-); term, DHA/ARA supplemented (T+); preterm, no DHA/ARA (P-); preterm and DHA/ARA supplemented (P+). At four weeks adjusted age, brains were dissected and total fatty acids analyzed by gas chromatography and mass spectrometry.
DHA and ARA are rich in many more structures than previously reported. They are most concentrated in structures local to the brain stem and diencephalon, particularly the basal ganglia, limbic regions, thalamus and midbrain, and comparatively lower in white matter. Dietary supplementation increased DHA in all structures but had little influence on ARA concentrations. Supplementation restored DHA concentrations to levels of breastfed neonates in all regions except the cerebral cortex and cerebellum. Prematurity per se did not exert a strong influence on DHA or ARA concentrations.
1) DHA and ARA are found in high concentration throughout the primate CNS, particularly in gray matter such as basal ganglia; 2) DHA concentrations drop across most CNS structures in neonates consuming formulas with no DHA, but ARA levels are relatively immune to ARA in the diet; 3) supplementation of infant formula is effective at restoring DHA concentration in structures other than the cerebral cortex. These results will be useful as a guide to future investigations of CNS function in the absence of dietary DHA and ARA.
PMCID: PMC1184078  PMID: 15975147
3.  Supplementation with 200 mg/Day Docosahexaenoic Acid from Mid-Pregnancy through Lactation Improves the Docosahexaenoic Acid Status of Mothers with a Habitually Low Fish Intake and of Their Infants 
Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism  2008;52(2):157-166.
The supply of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6ω–3), important for fetal/infant neurodevelopment, depends on the maternal fatty acid (FA) status, which may be marginal in central Europe. Therefore, we investigated the effect of a daily vitamin/mineral supplement with and without 200 mg DHA from mid-pregnancy through lactation on the DHA concentrations in maternal and infant red blood cell phospholipids (RBC%), and in breast milk FA (%).
At 21 weeks’ gestation, 144 women were enrolled into a randomised, double-blind clinical trial receiving daily: (1) a basic vitamin-mineral supplement (Vit/Min group), (2) Vit/Min plus 4.5 g fructo-oligosaccharide (FOS group), or (3) Vit/Min plus 4.5 g FOS plus 200 mg fish oil-derived DHA (DHA-FOS group). FAs were determined by capillary gas-liquid chromatography.
While maternal RBC-DHA% at enrolment was not different, at 37 weeks gestation, and 3 months after delivery RBC-DHA% were significantly higher in the DHA-FOS group. The breast milk DHA% was twice as high in the DHA-FOS group (0.50%) than in the two others (0.25 %) (p < 0.001), and the ratio ARA/DHA in the DHA-FOS group was 1.0 ± 0.43, in the others 2.1 ± 0.43 (p < 0.001). The RBC-DHA% of the infants in the DHA-FOS group was also significantly higher, and correlated significantly with maternal RBC-DHA% before and 3 months after delivery.
In central Europe, a dose of 200 mg/day DHA from mid-pregnancy through lactation seems appropriate to improve the DHA status of mothers and infants.
PMCID: PMC2790529  PMID: 18446020
Supplements; Docosahexaenoic acid; Pregnancy; Lactation; Concentration; Erythrocytes; Breast milk
4.  Regulating fatty acids in infant formula: critical assessment of U.S. policies and practices 
Fatty acids in breast-milk such as docosahexaenoic acid and arachidonic acid, commonly known as DHA and ARA, contribute to the healthy development of children in various ways. However, the manufactured versions that are added to infant formula might not have the same health benefits as those in breast-milk. There is evidence that the manufactured additives might cause harm to infants’ health, and they might lead to unwarranted increases in the cost of infant formula.
The addition of such fatty acids to infant formula needs to be regulated. In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration has primary responsibility for regulating the composition of infant formula. The central purpose of this study is to assess the FDA’s efforts with regard to the regulation of fatty acids in infant formula.
This study is based on critical analysis of policies and practices described in publicly available documents of the FDA, the manufacturers of fatty acids, and other relevant organizations. The broad framework for this work was set out by the author in his book on Regulating Infant Formula, published in 2011.
The FDA does not assess the safety or the health impacts of fatty acid additives to infant formula before they are marketed, and there is no systematic assessment after marketing is underway. Rather than making its own independent assessments, the FDA accepts the manufacturers’ claims regarding their products’ safety and effectiveness.
The FDA is not adequately regulating the use of fatty acid additives to infant formula. This results in exposure of infants to potential risks. Adverse reactions are already on record. Also, the additives have led to increasing costs of infant formula despite the lack of proven benefits to normal, full term infants. There is a need for more effective regulation of DHA and ARA additives to infant formula.
PMCID: PMC3922793  PMID: 24433303
Infant formula; Fatty acids; Regulation; Docosahexaenoic acid; DHA
5.  Breastfeeding and long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid intake in the first 4 post-natal months and infant cognitive development: an observational study 
Maternal & child nutrition  2011;8(4):471-482.
The aim of this study was to examine infant feeding and the long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (LCPUFA) concentration of breast milk and formulas in relation to infant development. The prospective Pregnancy, Infection and Nutrition Study (n = 358) collected data on breastfeeding, breast milk samples and the formulas fed through 4 months post-partum. At 12 months of age, infants’ development was assessed (Mullen Scales of Early Learning). Linear regression was used to examine development in relation to breastfeeding, breast milk docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (AA) concentration, and DHA and AA concentration from the combination of breast milk and formula. The median breast milk DHA concentration was 0.20% of total fatty acids [interquartile range (IQR) = 0.14, 0.34]; median AA concentration was 0.52% (IQR = 0.44, 0.63). Upon adjustment for preterm birth, sex, smoking, race and ethnicity and education, breastfeeding exclusivity was unrelated to development. Among infants exclusively breastfed, breast milk LCPUFA concentration was not associated with development (Mullen composite, DHA: adjusted β = −1.3, 95% confidence interval: −10.3, 7.7). Variables combining DHA and AA concentrations from breast milk and formula, weighted by their contribution to diet, were unassociated with development. We found no evidence of enhanced infant development related to the LCPUFA content of breast milk or formula consumed during the first four post-natal months.
PMCID: PMC3617566  PMID: 21615865
arachidonic acid; breast milk; docosahexaenoic acid; infant feeding; polyunsaturated fatty acids; breastfeeding
6.  Dietary arachidonic acid and docosahexaenoic acid regulate liver fatty acid desaturase (FADS) alternative transcript expression in suckling piglets 
Prostaglandins, leukotrienes, and essential fatty acids  2013;89(5):10.1016/j.plefa.2013.08.004.
Molecular regulation of fatty acid desaturase (Fads) gene expression by dietary arachidonic (ARA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) during early postnatal period, when the demand for long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA) is very high, has not been well defined. The objective of the current study was to determine regulation of liver Fads1, Fads2 and Fads3 classical (CS) and alternative transcripts (AT) expression by dietary ARA and DHA, within the physiological range present in human breast milk, in suckling piglets. Piglets were fed one of six milk replacer formula diets (Formula-reared groups, FR) with varying ARA and DHA content from days 3-28 of age. The ARA/DHA levels of the six formula diets were as follows (% total fatty acid, FA/FA): (A1) 0.1/1.0; (A2) 0.53/1.0; (A3-D3) 0.69/1.0; (A4) 1.1/1.0; (D2) 0.67/0.62; (D1) 0.66/0.33. The control maternal-reared (MR) group remained with the dam. Fads1 expression was not significantly different between FR and MR groups. Fads2 expression was down-regulated significantly in diets with 1:1 ratio of ARA:DHA, compared to MR. Fads2 AT1 expression was highly correlated to Fads2 expression. Fads3 AT7 was the only Fads3 transcript sensitive to dietary LC-PUFA intake and was up-regulated in the formula diets with lowest ARA and DHA content compared to MR. Thus, the present study provides evidence that the proportion of dietary ARA:DHA is a significant determinant of Fads2 expression and LC-PUFA metabolism during the early post-natal period. Further, the data suggest that Fads3 AT7 may have functional significance when dietary supply of ARA and DHA are low during early development.
PMCID: PMC3818473  PMID: 24075244
Arachidonic acid; Docosahexaenoic acid; fatty acid desaturase gene; infant nutrition; piglet
7.  Visual evoked potentials and dietary long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in preterm infants. 
The influence of dietary long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (LCP) supply, and especially of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), on evoked potential maturation, was studied in 58 healthy preterm infants using flash visual evoked potentials (VEPs), flash electroretinography (ERG), and brainstem acoustic evoked potentials (BAEPs) at 52 weeks of postconceptional age. At the same time, the fatty acid composition of red blood cell membranes was examined. The infants were fed on breast milk (n = 12), a preterm formula supplemented with LCP (PF-LCP) (n = 21), or a traditional preterm formula (PF) (n = 25). In the breast milk and PF-LCP groups the morphology and latencies of the waves that reflect the visual projecting system were similar; in the PF group the morphology was quite different and the wave latencies were significantly longer. This could mean that the maturation pattern of VEPs in preterm infants who did not receive LCP was slower. Moreover, a higher level of erythrocyte LCP, especially DHA, was found in breast milk and PF-LCP groups compared with the PF group. ERG and BAEP recordings were the same in all three groups. These results suggest that a well balanced LCP supplement in preterm formulas can positively influence the maturation of visual evoked potentials in preterm infants when breast milk is not available.
PMCID: PMC1061173  PMID: 8949693
8.  Long Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Levels in U.S. Donor Human Milk: Meeting the Needs of Premature Infants? 
To determine fatty acid levels in the US donor milk supply.
Study Design
Donor human milk samples from Iowa (n=62), Texas (n=5), North Carolina (n=5), and California (n=5) were analyzed by gas chromatography. Levels in Iowa donor milk were compared before and after pasteurization using Student’s t-test. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (ARA) levels were compared among all milk banks using ANOVA.
ARA (0.4 pre, 0.4 post, p=0.18) and DHA (0.073 pre, 0.073 post, p=0.84) were not affected by pasteurization. DHA varied between banks (p <0.0001), whereas ARA did not (p = 0.3). DHA levels from all banks were lower than published values for maternal milk and infant formula (p<0.0001).
Pasteurization of breastmilk does not affect DHA or ARA levels. However, DHA content in US donor milk varies with bank location and may not meet the recommended provision for preterm infants.
PMCID: PMC3369002  PMID: 22323096
Long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA); docosahexaenoic acid (DHA); arachidonic acid (ARA); donor human milk; neonatal nutrition
9.  Low dose docosahexaenoic acid protects normal colonic epithelial cells from araC toxicity 
BMC Pharmacology  2005;5:7.
The nucleoside analogue arabinosylcytosine (araC) has been used for many years in the treatment of acute leukemia. Evidence in the literature suggests that araC may inhibit the growth of human colon carcinoma cell lines as well. Because araC action interferes with normal nucleoside metabolism, it is highly toxic to a number of normal cell types including bone marrow and intestinal mucosa cells. Here we investigate whether the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) could selectively target araC toxicity toward colonic tumor cells while protecting the normal cells in vitro.
Cultures of normal rat colonic epithelial cells (4D/WT) and those transformed by v-src (D/v-src) were supplemented with graded concentrations of DHA or arachidonic acid (AA) alone or in combination with araC. AraC was only 1.6 fold more toxic to D/v-src than 4D/WT in cultures without added fatty acids. Supplementing with as little as 3 μM of either AA or DHA increased araC toxicity by more than 30-fold in the tumorigenic cells. The toxic effect of araC on the normal cells was also increased by the fatty acid supplementation. IC50 values were decreased 1.7 fold by DHA in the 4D/WT cells but a more than 7-fold decrease was observed during AA supplementation. As a result, the therapeutic index of araC (IC50 normal/IC50 tumor) was more than 3-fold higher in the DHA than the AA supplemented cells. The expression of protein kinase C isoform epsilon was decreased in AA alone supplemented D/v-src cultures but in combination with araC decreased only in DHA supplemented 4D/WT cells.
Low dose DHA supplementation may enhance araC chemotherapy in colon cancer while protecting normal tissues, possibly through control of PKC signalling pathways.
PMCID: PMC1079882  PMID: 15788091
10.  Long Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Supplementation in Infancy Reduces Heart Rate and Positively Affects Distribution of Attention 
Pediatric research  2011;70(4):406-410.
A double-blind, randomized, controlled, parallel-group prospective trial was conducted to determine whether a dose-response existed for four different levels of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) supplementation on the cognitive performance of infants. A total of 122 term infants were fed one of four different formulas varying in their DHA composition (0.00%, 0.32%, 0.64% and 0.96% of total fatty acids as DHA) from birth to 12 months. The three DHA-supplemented formulas also contained 0.64% of total fatty acids as arachidonic acid (ARA, 20:4n-6). Infants were tested at 4, 6, and 9 months of age on a visual habituation protocol that yielded both behavioral and psychophysiological indices of attention. Infants in all DHA+ARA-supplemented conditions had lower heart rates than those in the unsupplemented condition; there was no dose-response for this effect. The distribution of time that infants spent in different phases of attention (a cognitive index derived from the convergence of behavioral and cardiac responses) varied as a function of dosage. Infants supplemented at the two lower DHA doses spent proportionately more time engaged in active stimulus processing than infants fed the unsupplemented formula, while infants fed the highest dose were intermediate and did not differ from any other group.
PMCID: PMC3172991  PMID: 21705959
11.  Effect of diet on the fatty acid composition of the major phospholipids of infant cerebral cortex. 
Archives of Disease in Childhood  1995;72(3):198-203.
The fatty acid compositions of the major cerebral cortex phospholipids, phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylethanolamine, and phosphatidylserine were measured in 16 term and one preterm 'cot death' infants fed exclusively either breast milk or one of two formulas. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA; C22:6n-3) content in cerebral cortex phosphatidylethanolamine and phosphatidylserine of breast fed infants was greater than in both formula groups with significances varying between p < 0.1 and p < 0.001. Compensation for this deficiency in DHA in the formula fed infants was largely achieved by increased incorporation of docosapentaenoic acid (C22:5n-6) in the cerebral cortex of term infants and Mead (C20:3n-9) and dihomo Mead acids (C22:3n-9) in the preterm infant. As the phospholipids most affected are known to perform an important role in membrane function and are possibly integral to neurotransmission it is recommended that breast milk substitute infant formulas should contain n-3 and n-6 series polyunsaturated fatty acids in proportions similar to those of human milk.
PMCID: PMC1511055  PMID: 7741563
12.  Effects of Term Infant Formulas Containing High sn-2 Palmitate With and Without Oligofructose on Stool Composition, Stool Characteristics, and Bifidogenicity 
Levels of stool fatty acid soaps and beneficial bacteria differ between formula-fed and breast-fed infants; addition of specific formula ingredients may reduce these differences. This study evaluated the effects of a term infant formula containing high sn-2 palmitate term infant formula (sn-2) or an identical formula supplemented with oligofructose (OF) at 2 concentrations (sn-2+3 g/L OF, sn-2+5 g/L OF) on stool composition, stool characteristics, and fecal bifidobacteria.
Healthy, term formula-fed infants 7 to 14 days old (n = 300) were randomized in a double-blind manner to receive standard formula (control), sn-2, sn-2+3 g/L OF, or sn-2+5 g/L OF for 8 weeks. Human milk (HM)–fed infants (n = 75) were studied in parallel. Stool samples were collected from all subjects at week 8 for fatty acid soaps and mineral content, and from a subset at baseline and week 8 for bifidobacteria. Stool characteristics were assessed via 3-day diary.
The sn-2 group had 46% less stool soap palmitate (P < 0.001) and softer stools than control (20% more mushy soft stools, P = 0.026; 50% fewer formed stools, P = 0.003). Addition of OF resulted in even fewer formed stools versus control (65% fewer for sn-2+3 g/L OF, 79% fewer for sn-2+5 g/L OF), with 5 g/L OF more closely resembling that of HM-fed infants. Both sn-2 (P < 0.05) and sn-2 with OF groups (P < 0.01) had significantly higher fecal bifidobacteria concentrations than control at week 8, not differing from HM-fed infants.
High sn-2-palmitate formulas led to reduced stool soaps, softer stools, and increased bifidobacteria, whereas addition of OF further improved stool consistency. Those modifications brought outcomes in formula-fed infants closer to that in HM-fed infants.
PMCID: PMC4222706  PMID: 24840511
bifidobacteria; fatty acid soaps; infant formula; oligofructose; sn-2-palmitate; stool consistency
13.  Infants fed formula with added long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids have reduced incidence of respiratory illnesses and diarrhea during the first year of life 
BMC Pediatrics  2014;14:168.
Long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs) may influence the immune system. Our objective was to compare the frequency of common illnesses in infants who received formula with or without added LCPUFAs.
In this observational, multi-center, prospective study, infants consumed formula with 17 mg DHA and 34 mg ARA/100 kcal (n = 233) or with no added DHA or ARA (n = 92). Pediatricians recorded respiratory illnesses, otitis media, eczema, and diarrhea through 1 year of age.
Infants who consumed formula with DHA/ARA had lower incidence of bronchitis/bronchiolitis (P = 0.004), croup (P = 0.044), nasal congestion (P = 0.001), cough (P = 0.014), and diarrhea requiring medical attention (P = 0.034). The odds ratio (OR) of having at least one episode of bronchitis/bronchiolitis (0.41, 95% CI 0.24, 0.70; P = 0.001), croup (0.23, 95% CI 0.05, 0.97; P = 0.045), nasal congestion (0.37, 95% CI 0.20, 0.66; P = 0.001), cough (0.52, 95% CI 0.32, 0.86; P = 0.011), and diarrhea requiring medical attention (0.51, 95% CI 0.28, 0.92; P = 0.026) was lower in infants fed DHA/ARA. The OR of an increased number of episodes of bronchitis/bronchiolitis, croup, nasal congestion, cough, and diarrhea, as well as the hazard ratio for shorter time to first episode of bronchitis/bronchiolitis, nasal congestion, cough, and diarrhea were also significantly lower in the DHA/ARA group.
In healthy infants, formula with DHA/ARA was associated with lower incidence of common respiratory symptoms and illnesses, as well as diarrhea.
PMCID: PMC4098921  PMID: 24989353
DHA; ARA; LCPUFAs; Infant; Infant formula; Infant nutrition; Respiratory illness; Diarrhea
The current report provides a brief background introducing 30 years of research on LCPUFA and infant development, but focuses mainly on challenges for future studies. Infants fed formulas containing only vegetable fats were found to have lower docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3) and arachidonic acid (ARA, 20:4n-6) status than infants fed human milk. Studies soon focused on efforts to improve LCPUFA status and evaluate functions suggested by early primate studies of DHA deficiency. Despite evidence for the importance of these fatty acids for development, particularly DHA, several recent meta-analyses conclude dietary supplementation does not enhance development. Future studies should employ 1) more finely grained measures of brain development as opposed to global measures; and 2) tests that evaluate development later in childhood when children are able to be tested on more complex behaviors (if found effective these would also be evidence of early brain programming). 3) Studies are needed to understand the cause of high variability in transfer of DHA to the fetus. Finally 4) the role of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of the fatty acid desaturase genes (FADS1/2) of mother and infant needs study to determine how they affect requirements for these fatty acids by the fetus/infant.
PMCID: PMC4188474  PMID: 24107504
15.  Breast milk docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) correlates with DHA status of malnourished infants 
Archives of Disease in Childhood  2000;82(6):493-494.
AIM—To investigate whether low docosahexaenoic acid (22:6ω3; DHA) status of malnourished, mostly breast fed infants is a result of low ω3 fatty acid intake via breast milk.
METHODS—Fatty acid composition of breast milk of eight Pakistani mothers, and of the erythrocytes of their malnourished children was analysed.
RESULTS—The milk of the Pakistani mothers contained low percentages of all ω3 and most ω6 fatty acids, compared with milk of Dutch mothers. Breast milk DHA was positively correlated with infant erythrocyte DHA and arachidonic acid (20:4ω6).
CONCLUSION—DHA status of these malnourished children is strongly dependent on the ω3 fatty acid intake from breast milk. Augmentation of the infants' ω3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid status, or the ω3 and ω6 fatty acid status in general, by supplementation is indicated in deprived circumstances where access to fresh fish is difficult. However, in terms of prevention, maternal supplementation of these long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, preferably from early pregnancy onwards, may be a better option.

PMCID: PMC1718344  PMID: 10833187
16.  Essential fatty acids in full term infants fed breast milk or formula. 
To determine the biochemical effects of the fatty acid composition of plasma lipids, two groups of 10 healthy full term infants who were either exclusively breast fed or received a formula with similar contents of linoleic and alpha linolenic acids, but without long chain polyunsaturated (LCP) fatty acids, were studied prospectively. Plasma phospholipid, triglyceride, and sterol ester fatty acids were determined at the age of 2, 4, and 8 weeks by high resolution capillary gas chromatography. Breast fed infants maintained stable LCP fatty acid concentrations throughout the study. Formula fed infants had significantly lower median values of arachidonic acid (AA) at the ages of 2 (6.9 v 9.5% wt/wt) and 4 weeks (5.9 v 7.9%) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) at the ages of 4 (1.1 v 1.7%) and 8 weeks (1.0 v 1.7%) in plasma phospholipids. Median AA values in triglycerides were also significantly lower in the infants receiving formula at the ages of 2 (0.4 v 0.6%) and 4 weeks (0.3 v 0.6%). It is concluded that formula fed full term infants are unable to match the omega-3 and omega-6 LCP status of breast fed full term infants until at least two months after birth.
PMCID: PMC2528425  PMID: 7743279
17.  U.S. adults are not meeting recommended levels for fish and omega-3 fatty acid intake: results of an analysis using observational data from NHANES 2003–2008 
Nutrition Journal  2014;13:31.
The American Heart Association’s Strategic Impact Goal Through 2020 and Beyond recommends ≥ two 3.5-oz fish servings per week (preferably oily fish) partly to increase intake of omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). We examined the intake of total fish, fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, α-linolenic acid, EPA, and DHA in U.S. adults (19 + years) using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2003–2008.
Usual intakes from foods alone and from foods plus dietary supplements were determined using the methods from the National Cancer Institute.
Mean usual intake of total fish and fish high in omega-3 fatty acids was 0.61 ± 0.03 and 0.15 ± 0.03 oz/day, 0.43 and 0.07 respectively. Total fish and fish high in omega-3 fatty acids median intake was 0.43 and 0.07 oz/day, respectively. Intake from foods alone for ALA, EPA and DHA was 1.5 ± 0.01 g/d, 23 ± 7 mg/d and 63 ± 2 mg/d, respectively. ALA, EPA and DHA from food only median intakes were 1.4 g/d, 18 mg/d and 50 mg/d, respectively. Intake of ALA, EPA and DHA from foods and dietary supplements was 1.6 ± 0.04 g/d, 41 ± 4 mg/d and 72 ± 4 mg/d, respectively. While intakes of fish high in omega-3 fatty acids were higher in older adults (0.13 ± 0.01 oz/d for those 19–50 yrs and 0.19 ± 0.02 oz/d for those 51+ year; p < 0.01) and in males as compared to females (0.18 ± 0.02 vs 0.13 ± 0.01 oz/d, respectively; p < 0.05), few consumed recommended levels. Males also had higher (p < 0.05) intake of EPA and DHA from foods and dietary supplements relative to females (44 ± 6 vs 39 ± 4 and 90 ± 7 vs 59 ± 4 mg/d, respectively) and older adults had higher intakes of EPA, but not DHA compared to younger adults (EPA: 34 ± 3 vs 58 ± 9, p < 0.05; DHA: 68 ± 4 vs 81 ± 6, p < 0.05).
As omega-3 fatty acids are deemed important from authoritative bodies, supplementation in addition to food sources may need to be considered to help U.S. adults meet recommendations.
PMCID: PMC3992162  PMID: 24694001
NHANES; Usual intake; Fish; Omega-3 fatty acids; EPA; DHA; Cardiovascular
18.  Long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation in infant formula and blood pressure in later childhood: follow up of a randomised controlled trial 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2003;326(7396):953.
To determine whether supplementation of infant formula milk with long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs) influences blood pressure in later childhood.
Follow up of a multicentre, randomised controlled trial.
Four study centres in Europe.
147 formula fed children, with a reference group of 88 breastfed children.
In the original trial newborn infants were randomised to be fed with a formula supplemented with LCPUFAs (n=111) or a formula without LCPUFAs but otherwise nutritionally similar (n=126). In the present follow up study the blood pressure of the children at age 6 years was measured.
Main outcome measures
Systolic, diastolic, and mean blood pressure.
71 children in the LCPUFA supplementation group (64% of the original group) and 76 children in the non-supplementation group (60%) were enrolled into the follow up study. The LCPUFA group had significantly lower mean blood pressure (mean difference −3.0 mm Hg (95% confidence interval −5.4 mm Hg to −0.5 mm Hg)) and diastolic blood pressure (mean difference −3.6 mm Hg (−6.5 mm Hg to −0.6 mm Hg)) than the non-supplementation group. The diastolic pressure of the breastfed children (n=88 (63%)) was significantly lower than that of the non-supplemented formula group but did not differ from the LCPUFA formula group.
Dietary supplementation with LCPUFAs during infancy is associated with lower blood pressure in later childhood. Blood pressure tends to track from childhood into adult life, so early exposure to dietary LCPUFAs may reduce cardiovascular risk in adulthood.
What is already known on this topicBreast milk contains long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, and breastfed children have lower blood pressure than children fed with formula milkBlood pressure differences in childhood are known to carry through into adulthoodDietary omega 3 fatty acid supplementation can lower blood pressure in adults with hypertensionWhat this paper addsSupplementation with long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in infancy results in lower blood pressure later in childhood
PMCID: PMC153849  PMID: 12727766
19.  Changes in plasma and erythrocyte omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in response to intravenous supply of omega-3 fatty acids in patients with hepatic colorectal metastases 
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are functionally the most important omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). Oral supply of these fatty acids increases their levels in plasma and cell membranes, often at the expense of the omega-6 PUFAs arachidonic acid (ARA) and linoleic acid. This results in an altered pattern of lipid mediator production to one which is less pro-inflammatory. We investigated whether short term intravenous supply of omega-3 PUFAs could change the levels of EPA, DHA, ARA and linoleic acid in plasma and erythrocytes in patients with hepatic colorectal metastases.
Twenty patients were randomised to receive a 72 hour infusion of total parenteral nutrition with (treatment group) or without (control group) omega-3 PUFAs. EPA, DHA, ARA and linoleic acid were measured in plasma phosphatidylcholine (PC) and erythrocytes at several times points up to the end of infusion and 5 to 12 days (mean 9 days) after stopping the infusion.
The treatment group showed increases in plasma PC EPA and DHA and erythrocyte EPA and decreases in plasma PC and erythrocyte linoleic acid, with effects most evident late in the infusion period. Plasma PC and erythrocyte EPA and linoleic acid all returned to baseline levels after the 5–12 day washout. Plasma PC DHA remained elevated above baseline after washout.
Intravenous supply of omega-3 PUFAs results in a rapid increase of EPA and DHA in plasma PC and of EPA in erythrocytes. These findings suggest that infusion of omega-3 PUFAs could be used to induce a rapid effect especially in targeting inflammation.
Trial registration identifier NCT00942292
PMCID: PMC3659039  PMID: 23648075
Parenteral nutrition; Fish oil; Omega-3 fatty acids; Eicosapentaenoic acid; Docosahexaenoic acid; Arachidonic acid; Liver metastases
20.  Evaluation of Bioequivalency and Toxicological Effects of Three Sources of Arachidonic Acid (ARA) in Domestic Piglets 
Arachidonic acid (ARA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are routinely added to infant formula to support growth and development. We evaluated the bioequivalence and safety of three ARA-rich oils for potential use in infant formula using the neonatal pig model. The primary outcome for bioequivalence was brain accretion of ARA and DHA. Days 3 to 22 of age, domestic pigs fed one of three formulas, each containing ARA at ~0.64% and DHA at ~0.34% total fatty acids (FA). Control diet ARA was provided by ARASCO® and all diets had DHA from DHASCO® (Martek Biosciences Corp., Columbia, MD). The experimental diets a1 and a2 provided ARA from Refined Arachidonic acid-rich Oil (RAO; Cargill, Inc., Wuhan, China) and SUNTGA40S (Nissui, Nippon Suisan Kaisha, Ltd., Tokyo, Japan), respectively. Formula intake and growth were similar across all diets, and ARA was bioequivalent across treatments in the brain, retina, heart, liver and day 21 RBC. DHA levels in the brain, retina and heart were unaffected by diet. Liver sections, clinical chemistry, and hematological parameters were normal. We conclude that RAO and SUNTGA40S, when added to formula to supply ~0.64% ARA are safe and nutritionally bioequivalent to ARASCO in domestic piglets.
PMCID: PMC3148427  PMID: 21722692
Arachidonic acid; ARASCO; DHASCO; infant nutrition; pig
21.  Differential Regulation of Hepatic Transcription Factors in the Wistar Rat Offspring Born to Dams Fed Folic Acid, Vitamin B12 Deficient Diets and Supplemented with Omega-3 Fatty Acids 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e90209.
Nutritional status of the mother is known to influence various metabolic adaptations required for optimal fetal development. These may be mediated by transcription factors like peroxisome proliferator activated receptors (PPARs), which are activated by long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids. The objective of the current study was to examine the expression of different hepatic transcription factors and the levels of global methylation in the liver of the offspring born to dams fed micronutrient deficient (folic acid and vitamin B12) diets and supplemented with omega-3 fatty acids. Female rats were divided into five groups (n = 8/group) as follows; control, folic acid deficient (FD), vitamin B12 deficient (BD) and omega-3 fatty acid supplemented groups (FDO and BDO). Diets were given starting from pre-conception and continued throughout pregnancy and lactation. Pups were dissected at the end of lactation. Liver tissues were removed; snap frozen and stored at −80°C. Maternal micronutrients deficiency resulted in lower (p<0.05) levels of pup liver docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (ARA) as compared to the control group. Pup liver PPARα and PPARγ expression was lower (p<0.05) in the BD group although there were no differences in the expression of SREBP-1c, LXRα and RXRα expression. Omega-3 fatty acids supplementation to this group normalized (p<0.05) levels of both PPARα and PPARγ but reduced (p<0.05) SREBP-1c, LXRα and RXRα expression. There was no change in any of the transcription factors in the pup liver in the FD group. Omega-3 fatty acids supplementation to this group reduced (p<0.05) PPARα, SREBP-1c and RXRα expression. Pup liver global methylation levels were higher (p<0.01) in both the micronutrients deficient groups and could be normalized (p<0.05) by omega-3 fatty acid supplementation. Our novel findings suggest a role for omega-3 fatty acids in the one carbon cycle in influencing the hepatic expression of transcription factors in the offspring.
PMCID: PMC3938654  PMID: 24587285
22.  Improved Mitochondrial Function with Diet-Induced Increase in Either Docosahexaenoic Acid or Arachidonic Acid in Membrane Phospholipids 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e34402.
Mitochondria can depolarize and trigger cell death through the opening of the mitochondrial permeability transition pore (MPTP). We recently showed that an increase in the long chain n3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) docosahexaenoic acid (DHA; 22:6n3) and depletion of the n6 PUFA arachidonic acid (ARA; 20:4n6) in mitochondrial membranes is associated with a greater Ca2+ load required to induce MPTP opening. Here we manipulated mitochondrial phospholipid composition by supplementing the diet with DHA, ARA or combined DHA+ARA in rats for 10 weeks. There were no effects on cardiac function, or respiration of isolated mitochondria. Analysis of mitochondrial phospholipids showed DHA supplementation increased DHA and displaced ARA in mitochondrial membranes, while supplementation with ARA or DHA+ARA increased ARA and depleted linoleic acid (18:2n6). Phospholipid analysis revealed a similar pattern, particularly in cardiolipin. Tetralinoleoyl cardiolipin was depleted by 80% with ARA or DHA+ARA supplementation, with linoleic acid side chains replaced by ARA. Both the DHA and ARA groups had delayed Ca2+-induced MPTP opening, but the DHA+ARA group was similar to the control diet. In conclusion, alterations in mitochondria membrane phospholipid fatty acid composition caused by dietary DHA or ARA was associated with a greater cumulative Ca2+ load required to induced MPTP opening. Further, high levels of tetralinoleoyl cardiolipin were not essential for normal mitochondrial function if replaced with very-long chain n3 or n6 PUFAs.
PMCID: PMC3316678  PMID: 22479624
23.  Randomized Controlled Trial of Docosahexaenoic Acid Supplementation in Midwestern U.S. Human Milk Donors 
Breastfeeding Medicine  2013;8(1):86-91.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is a long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid important for neonatal neurodevelopment and immune homeostasis. Preterm infants fed donor milk from a Midwestern source receive only 20% of the intrauterine accretion of DHA. We tested the hypothesis that DHA supplementation of donor mothers would provide preterm infants with DHA intake equivalent to fetal accretion.
Subjects and Methods
After Institutional Review Board approval and informed consent, human milk donors to the Mother's Milk Bank of Ohio were randomized to receive 1 g of DHA (Martek® [now DSM Nutritional Lipids, Columbia, MD]) or placebo soy oil. Dietary intake data were collected and analyzed by a registered dietitian. Fatty acids were measured by gas chromatography/flame ionization detection. Statistical analysis used linear mixed models.
Twenty-one mothers were randomly assigned to either the DHA group (n=10) or the placebo group (n=11). Donor age was a median of 31 years in both groups with a mean lactational stage of 19 weeks. Dietary intake of DHA at baseline in both groups was a median of 23 mg/day (range, 0–194 mg), significantly (p<0.0001) less than the minimum recommended intake of 200 mg/day. The DHA content of milk increased in the DHA-supplemented group (p<0.05).
The women enrolled in this study had low dietary DHA intake. Supplementation with preformed DHA at 1 g/day resulted in increased DHA concentrations in the donor milk with no adverse outcomes. Infants fed donor milk from supplemented women receive dietary DHA levels that closely mimic normal intrauterine accretion during the third trimester.
PMCID: PMC3566653  PMID: 22568471
24.  Differential Cerebral Cortex Transcriptomes of Baboon Neonates Consuming Moderate and High Docosahexaenoic Acid Formulas 
PLoS ONE  2007;2(4):e370.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3) and arachidonic acid (ARA, 20:4n-6) are the major long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA) of the central nervous system (CNS). These nutrients are present in most infant formulas at modest levels, intended to support visual and neural development. There are no investigations in primates of the biological consequences of dietary DHA at levels above those present in formulas but within normal breastmilk levels.
Methods and Findings
Twelve baboons were divided into three formula groups: Control, with no DHA-ARA; “L”, LCPUFA, with 0.33%DHA-0.67%ARA; “L3”, LCPUFA, with 1.00%DHA-0.67%ARA. All the samples are from the precentral gyrus of cerebral cortex brain regions. At 12 weeks of age, changes in gene expression were detected in 1,108 of 54,000 probe sets (2.05%), with most showing <2-fold change. Gene ontology analysis assigns them to diverse biological functions, notably lipid metabolism and transport, G-protein and signal transduction, development, visual perception, cytoskeleton, peptidases, stress response, transcription regulation, and 400 transcripts having no defined function. PLA2G6, a phospholipase recently associated with infantile neuroaxonal dystrophy, was downregulated in both LCPUFA groups. ELOVL5, a PUFA elongase, was the only LCPUFA biosynthetic enzyme that was differentially expressed. Mitochondrial fatty acid carrier, CPT2, was among several genes associated with mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation to be downregulated by high DHA, while the mitochondrial proton carrier, UCP2, was upregulated. TIMM8A, also known as deafness/dystonia peptide 1, was among several differentially expressed neural development genes. LUM and TIMP3, associated with corneal structure and age-related macular degeneration, respectively, were among visual perception genes influenced by LCPUFA. TIA1, a silencer of COX2 gene translation, is upregulated by high DHA. Ingenuity pathway analysis identified a highly significant nervous system network, with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) as the outstanding interaction partner.
These data indicate that LCPUFA concentrations within the normal range of human breastmilk induce global changes in gene expression across a wide array of processes, in addition to changes in visual and neural function normally associated with formula LCPUFA.
PMCID: PMC1847718  PMID: 17426818
25.  High potency fish oil supplement improves omega-3 fatty acid status in healthy adults: an open-label study using a web-based, virtual platform 
Nutrition Journal  2013;12:112.
The health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids from fish are well known, and fish oil supplements are used widely in a preventive manner to compensate the low intake in the general population. The aim of this open-label study was to determine if consumption of a high potency fish oil supplement could improve blood levels of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and impact SF-12 mental and physical health scores in healthy adults.
A novel virtual clinical research organization was used along with the HS-Omega-3 Index, a measure of EPA and DHA in red blood cell membranes expressed as a percentage of total fatty acids that has been shown to correlate with a reduction in cardiovascular and other risk factors. Briefly, adult subjects (mean age 44 years) were recruited from among U.S. health food store employees and supplemented with 1.1 g/d of omega-3 from fish oil (756 mg EPA, 228 mg DHA, Minami Nutrition® MorEPA® Platinum) for 120 days (n = 157).
Omega-3 status and mental health scores increased with supplementation (p < 0.001), while physical health scores remained unchanged.
The use of a virtual, web-based platform shows considerable potential for engaging in clinical research with normal, healthy subjects. A high potency fish oil supplement may further improve omega-3 status in a healthy population regularly consuming an omega-3 supplement.
PMCID: PMC3751074  PMID: 23924406
Omega-3 index; Eicosapentaenoic acid; Docosahexaenoic acid; Fish oil; Open-label

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