Effect of two doses of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in the diet of preterm infants on infant fatty acid status: Results from the DINO trial

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Formula supplemented with docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) improves retinal function of preterm infants but the optimal dose is unknown. In a randomized controlled trial we examined the effect of increasing the DHA concentration of human milk and formula on circulating fatty acids of preterm infants. Infants born <33 weeks gestation were fed high-DHA milk (1% total fat as DHA) or standard-DHA milk (0.2-0.3% DHA) until reaching their estimated due date (EDD). Milk arachidonic acid (AA) concentration was ∼0.5% for both groups. At EDD, erythrocyte membrane phospholipid DHA was elevated in the high-DHA group compared with standard-DHA (mean±SD, high-DHA 6.8±1.2, standard-DHA 5.2±0.7, p<0.0005) but AA was lower (high-DHA 14.9±1.3, standard-DHA 16.0±1.2, p<0.0005). Feeding preterm infants human milk and formula with 1% DHA raises but does not saturate erythrocyte phospholipids with DHA. Milk exceeding 1% DHA may be required to increase DHA status to levels seen in term infants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-146
Number of pages6
JournalProstaglandins Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids
Issue number3-5
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Sept 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology

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