Soy-Based Infant Formula Supplemented with DHA and ARA Supports Growth and Increases Circulating Levels of these Fatty Acids in Infants
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Healthy term infants (n = 244) were randomized to receive: (1) control, soy-based formula without supplementation or (2) docosahexaenoic acid−arachidonic acid (DHA + ARA), soy-based formula supplemented with at least 17 mg DHA/100 kcal (from algal oil) and 34 mg ARA/100 kcal (from fungal oil) in a double-blind, parallel group trial to evaluate safety, benefits, and growth from 14 to 120 days of age. Anthropometric measurements were taken at 14, 30, 60, 90, and 120 days of age and 24-h dietary and tolerance recall were recorded at 30, 60, 90, and 120 days of age. Adverse events were recorded throughout the study. Blood samples were drawn from subsets of 25 infants in each group. Capillary column gas chromatography was used to analyze the percentages of fatty acids in red blood cell (RBC) lipids and plasma phospholipids. Compared with the control group, percentages of fatty acids such as DHA and ARA in total RBC and plasma phospholipids were significantly higher in infants in the DHA + ARA group at 120 days of age (P < 0.001). Growth rates did not differ significantly between feeding groups at any assessed time point. Supplementation did not affect the tolerance of formula or the incidence of adverse events. Feeding healthy term infants soy-based formula supplemented with DHA and ARA from single cell oil sources at concentrations similar to human milk significantly increased circulating levels of DHA and ARA when compared with the control group. Both formulas supported normal growth and were well tolerated.