May 10, 2005
EDMONTON, Alberta--Researchers from the University of Alberta found infant formula containing certain fatty acids improved growth and development in preterm babies. The study results, published in the April issue of the Journal of Pediatrics (146, 4:461-8, 2005), were based on 361 preterm infants randomized to receive either a formula fortified with docosahexanoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (ARA) or a placebo. The researchers used two types of supplemented formula--ARA in both types was from fungal oil, while DHA was from algal oil in one type and from fish oil in the other. According to researchers, while the formula with DHA from algal oil led to growth-by-weight results that rival term infants, both supplemented formulas were associated with better growth-by-length and improved mental and coordination development, per Bayley development scores.
This clinical trial demonstrated that feeding infant formulas with median worldwide milk levels of DHA and ARA can enhance growth of premature infants, the authors concluded.
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