Navigation Links
Omega-3s in Formula Can Help Baby's Eyesight: Review
Date:12/21/2012

By Lisa Esposito
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Dec. 21 (HealthDay News) -- A new review of studies finds that supplementing infant formula with omega-3 fatty acids in an effort to strengthen babies' eyesight does appear to benefit early vision development.

However, experts note that breast-fed babies already take in omega-3s naturally from their mothers' milk.

Dr. Michael Bloch, an assistant professor at the Yale Child Study Center in New Haven, Conn., and colleagues analyzed 19 randomized, controlled trials on nearly 2,000 infants aged 1 year and under. A randomized, controlled study is one in which people are randomly assigned to different groups: one group receives the treatment and the other does not receive the treatment (the "control" group).

"As best we can measure, [the supplementation] seems to help visual development," Bloch concluded.

The study, funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, is published online Dec. 17 and in the January print issue of Pediatrics.

Marion Nestle, a distinguished professor in the department of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University, who was not involved with the new study, explained how omega-3 supplementation in formula came to be.

"Formula companies fought hard to get the [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] to allow omega-3s in infant formula so they could use it for marketing -- and raise prices," Nestle said. "Now all infant formulas carry it. The omega-3 proponents are eager to prove that it does good. Some studies say yes, some no."

Review author Bloch said he had doubted the need for supplementation with omega-3s, more specifically known as long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA).

"I was initially quite skeptical that supplementing infant formula with LCPUFA would produce a measurable difference in infant development in any way, and that maybe [such supplementation] was a waste of money and an unneeded expense for parents," Bloch said.

However, he added, "based on the findings of the current meta-analysis, I would say that that view was probably wrong and that it's worth spending the money to get a formula supplemented with LCPUFA (which is standard in the United States)."

Assessing infant vision is obviously more complicated than measuring eyesight of older children. Studies in the analysis used behavioral methods or a brain study called visual evoked potential (VEP).

"Behavioral methods rely on observation of infant gaze preferences to determine visual acuity, while VEP examines brain electrical activity," Bloch explained. "Simply put, there is probably more precision and less noise in VEP measures so it has a greater ability to detect a difference."

The brain studies showed a significant benefit on visual acuity from formula supplementation at ages 2 months, 4 months and 12 months, while behavioral tests showed a significant benefit at 2 months.

The researchers had hoped to look at supplementation's effects on vision up to age 18 months but there wasn't enough evidence available.

What the findings mean after a baby's first birthday is unclear, NYU's Nestle emphasized.

"The point is that the effect is small but measurable, but its long-term significance is unclear," Nestle said. "Will babies fed omega-3-supplemented formula have better eyesight as adults than adults fed formula before it was supplemented? That's the important question."

Study author Bloch agreed. "Based on the current data available it is difficult to say whether this just gets babies to developmental acuity faster, or to a better endpoint," he said.

But these nutrients are important, he added.

"Not all fats are created equal," Bloch said. "Some fats our body can make on its own, and some need to be obtained from our diets." He said that supplementation includes "the two main LCPUFA that constitute an integral structural part of membranes of the cells of central nervous system and retina." These may be particularly important for infant visual development, he noted.

But by no means does this suggest that supplemented infant formula might be better than breast milk, both experts said, or that breast-fed babies would also benefit from omega-3 supplementation.

"Breast milk is high in LCPUFA," Bloch said. "The general goal of formula supplementation is to make it as much like breast milk as possible. . . . Clearly, breast-feeding mothers eating a healthy diet is good for their breast-feeding children."

Nestle noted that omega-3s have only been added since the early 2000s. "Until then, formula-fed infants did not get long-chain omega-3s from supplements," she said. "Somehow, they managed to grow up seeing OK. So it's hard to know how clinically significant this is."

More information

The American Optometric Association has more about infant vision.

SOURCES: Michael H. Block, M.D., M.S., assistant professor, Yale Child Study Center, New Haven, Conn.; Marion Nestle, Ph.D., M.P.H., Paulette Goddard Professor, department of nutrition, food studies and public health, New York University, New York City, and author, "What to Eat"; January 2013 Pediatrics


'/>"/>
Copyright©2012 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Eating More Foods Rich in Omega-3s May Lower Alzheimers Risk: Study
2. Omega-3s May Not Help Your Heart After All, Study Says
3. ACP applauds introduction of bipartisan bill to eliminate Medicare SGR formula
4. Hazelnuts: New source of key fat for infant formula thats more like mothers milk
5. Infant Smarts Similar With Different Types of Formula: Study
6. PaleoMeal Organic Whey Protein Formula Improved According to Rockwell Nutrition
7. Heuer M.D. Research Announces CardiaShred™ - First Medical Doctor Formulated, Heart Healthy Weight Loss, Energy and Lean Muscle Building Supplement
8. Infant Formula Can Be a Major Source of BPA: Experts
9. Soy Formula May Harm Babies With Underactive Thyroid: Report
10. Study finds reformulated ER Oxycodone abuse rates are significantly lower than original ER Oxycodone
11. Bladder Control Formula Now Available to Men and Women Courtesy of Flotrol
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Omega-3s in Formula Can Help Baby's Eyesight: Review
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... Austin residents seeking Mohs surgery services, can now ... and to Dr. Russell Peckham for medical and surgical dermatology. , Dr. Dorsey brings ... The selective fellowship in Mohs Micrographic Surgery completed by Dr. Dorsey was under the ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... Oklahoma (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... both athletes and non-athletes recover from injury. Recently, he has implemented orthobiologic procedures ... Oklahoma City area —Johnson is one of the first doctors to perform the ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... June 19, 2016 is World Sickle ... chronic pain and the benefits of holistic treatments, Serenity Recovery Center of ... Sickle Cell Disease. , Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is a disorder of the red ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Comfort Keepers® of San Diego, ... and the Road To Recovery® program to drive cancer patients to and from their ... to ensure the highest quality of life and ongoing independence. Getting to and ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... client, The Grove Investment Group (TGIG), has initiated cultivation and processing operations at ... Las Vegas and Pahrump, Nevada. , Puradigm is the manufacturer of a complete ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016 Dehaier Medical Systems ... "Company"), which develops, markets and sells medical devices and ... , signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Hongyuan Supply ... Supply Chain") on June 20, 2016, to develop Dehaier,s ... strategic cooperation agreement, Dehaier will leverage Hongyuan Supply Chain,s ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Mass. , June 24, 2016   Pulmatrix, ... pharmaceutical company developing innovative inhaled drugs, announced today that ... Russell Investments reconstituted its comprehensive set of ... "This is an important milestone for Pulmatrix," ... will increase shareholder awareness of our progress in developing ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the ... report to their offering. ... failure, it replaces the function of kidneys by removing the ... the treatment helps to keep the patient body,s electrolytes such ... Increasing number of ESRD patients & substantial healthcare expenditure on ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: