Infant formula supplemented with long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA) appears to boost infant intelligence. Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, found naturally in breast milk, seem to play a role in early neurological development.
Levels of these fatty acids are "preferentially accumulated" in infant brains late in pregnancy and in the first few months of life.
It was thought that infants' bodies could make these fatty acids, but studies have shown that formula-fed babies have lower levels of them in their blood and brain tissue than infants fed breast milk or supplemented formula.
Some European formula makers now include them in formulas. But Ruth Welch, a spokesperson for the US Food and Drug Administration, told Reuters Health that these compounds have not yet been approved for use as ingredients in infant formulas manufactured in the US.
The Lancet August 29,1998;352:688-691
Dr. Mercola's Comment:
Clearly breast milk is the best option for nearly all babies. I believe it is a sad tragedy when children are not provided with this option as all other choices are inferior replacements. I learned several weeks ago that soy formula is an utter disaster and should never be used for children.
A child receiving soy formula will receive the hormone equivalent of three birth controls per day as the phytoestrogens in the soy will stimulate hormone receptors.
This is not even mentioning the other problems with soy that are outlined in the article on my web site. Fatty acid supplementation is also an incredibly important issue.
This article references the long chain, but the essential fats which are MUCH more important. If you are using an infant formula, I would strongly recommend considering adding one 1300 mg Evening Primrose Oil capsule and one half fish oil capsule to the formula every day.
These are HIGHLY perishable oils which is the main reason they are not added to conventional formulas. The fish oil should be molecularly distilled. Nordic Natural (800-662-2544) is the one I recommend for this purpose as it does not have any mercury or PCB's. The primrose oil should be hexane free.