Role of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in neurodevelopment and growth

Maria Makrides, Lisa G. Smithers, Robert A. Gibson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

42 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

There has been intense interest in the role of the n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (LCPUFA) docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3), in growth and development of infants. In 2009, there are at least twelve published randomized controlled trials (RCT) assessing the effects of LCPUFA supplementation of infant formula for preterm infants and seventeen RCTs involving formula-fed term infants. In addition, at least five RCTs have investigated the effect of DHA supplementation during pregnancy and/or lactation on infant and early child development. Collectively, the published literature has demonstrated no harm of dietary LCPUFA for infants regardless of whether they are born preterm or at term. However, developmental benefit is more consistently observed in infants born preterm. This may be explained by the fact that DHA accretion to neural tissues peaks during the fetal brain growth spurt in the last trimester of pregnancy. Infants born preterm are denied the full gestation period to accumulate DHA and are at risk of incomplete DHA accumulation. New research is focused on the timing and dose of DHA supplementation needed to optimize developmental outcomes.

LanguageEnglish
Title of host publicationImportance of Growth for Health and Development
EditorsAlan Lucas, Maria Makrides, Ekhard Ziegler
Pages123-136
Number of pages14
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameNestle Nutrition Workshop Series: Pediatric Program
Volume65
ISSN (Print)1661-6677
ISSN (Electronic)1662-3878

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

Cite this

Makrides, M., Smithers, L. G., & Gibson, R. A. (2010). Role of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in neurodevelopment and growth. In A. Lucas, M. Makrides, & E. Ziegler (Eds.), Importance of Growth for Health and Development (pp. 123-136). (Nestle Nutrition Workshop Series: Pediatric Program; Vol. 65). https://doi.org/10.1159/000281154