Long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA) and perinatal development

Berthold Koletzko, C. Agostoni, S. E. Carlson, T. Clandinin, G. Hornstra, M. Neuringer, R. Uauy, Y. Yamashiro, P. Willatts

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    228 Scopus citations


    This paper reports on the conclusions of a workshop on the role of long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA) in maternal and child health. The attending investigators involved in the majority of randomized trials examining LC-PUFA status and functional outcomes summarize the current knowledge in the field and make recommendations for dietary practice. Only studies published in full or in abstract form were used as our working knowledge base. Conclusions: For healthy infants we recommend and strongly support breastfeeding as the preferred method of feeding, which supplies preformed LC-PUFA. Infant formulas for term infants should contain at least 0.2% of total fatty acids as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and 0.35% as arachidonic acid (AA). Since preterm infants are born with much less total body DHA and AA, we suggest that preterm infant formulas should include at least 0.35% DHA and 0.4% AA. Higher levels might confer additional benefits and should be further investigated because optimal dietary intakes for term and preterm infants remain to be defined. For pregnant and lactating women we consider it premature to recommend specific LC-PUFA intakes. However, it seems prudent for pregnant and lactating women to include some food sources of DHA in their diet in view of their assumed increase in LC-PUFA demand and the relationship between maternal and foetal DHA status.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)460-464
    Number of pages5
    JournalActa Paediatrica, International Journal of Paediatrics
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - Jan 1 2001


    • Arachidonic acid
    • Dietary requirements
    • Docosahexaenoic acid
    • Essential fatty acids
    • Infant nutrition

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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