Dietary long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids do not influence growth of term infants: A randomized clinical trial

Maria Makrides, Mark A. Neumann, Karen Simmer, Robert A. Gibson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)


Objective. To determine if dietary long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA) affect the growth of formula-fed infants relative to breastfed infants. Methods. A randomized, double-blind trial of three formula-fed groups and a parallel reference group of breastfed infants was conducted. The three treatments were a placebo (no LCPUFA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) supplemented, and DHA plus arachidonic acid supplemented formulas fed for 12 months. Infant weight, length, head circumference, and fatty acid status were assessed at 6, 16, 34 weeks, and 1 year of age. Anthropometrics were repeated at 2 years of age. Results. There were no differences between the randomized formula groups for weight, length, or head circumference even after adjustment for gender, gestational age, and the actual age at assessment. Post hoc regressions demonstrated a small negative association between DHA status at 16 weeks of age and weight at 1 and 2 years. Conclusions. Dietary LCPUFA do not influence growth of healthy term infants to a clinically significant degree.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)468-475
Number of pages8
Issue number3 I
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Sep 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Arachidonic acid
  • Breast milk
  • Docosahexaenoic acid
  • Growth
  • Infant formula
  • Infants
  • Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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