Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA): from the maternal-foetal dyad to the complementary feeding period.

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The docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, C22:6n-3) status of infants at birth and maternal DHA intake during pregnancy are interconnected and associated with infants' developmental performance. High-dosage supplementation of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs; particularly DHA) in mothers, started at mid-pregnancy, has been associated with long-term positive effects on intelligence quotient scores of neurodevelopment. Poor maternal and infant DHA status could partly contribute to the observed association between certain conditions and impaired developmental outcome. The dietary DHA enrichment of human milk seems to be functionally effective in breastfed infants only when lactating mothers start supplementation during pregnancy. Results from trials in artificially fed infants are dissimilar and could be related in part to uninvestigated covariates such as infant DHA status at birth and the individual genetic background. Nevertheless, DHA supplementation during the complementary feeding period seems to be effective in improving neurofunctional and visual performance. Copyright (c) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-6
Number of pages4
JournalEarly Human Development
Volume86 Suppl 1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology


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