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J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2000 Aug;31(2):121-7.

A multicenter long-term safety and efficacy trial of preterm formula supplemented with long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids.

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  • 1University of Nebraska and Creighton University, Omaha, USA.



The tissue accretion of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids is compromised in infants born prematurely. Human milk contains long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, but most preterm infant formulas do not. The long-term effects of preterm formula supplemented with arachidonic acid and docosahexaenoic acid, in proportions typical of those in human milk, were therefore investigated.


In this double-blind, randomized study, 288 preterm infants received experimental formula (n = 77), unsupplemented (control) formula (n = 78), or human milk (n = 133) until 48 weeks postconceptional age (PCA). Term formula, without supplemental long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, was administered from 48 to 92 weeks PCA to formula-fed infants and to infants weaned from human milk. Anthropometric and fatty acid data were assessed by using analysis of variance.


At 92 weeks PCA, no statistically significant anthropometric measurement differences were found except for midarm circumference, which was smaller in human milk-fed infants than in those fed formula. Phospholipid concentrations were similar in the experimental and human milk-fed groups, and docosahexaenoic acid levels were significantly greater than in the control group. The types and incidences of adverse events were similar among the feeding groups.


The results of this study demonstrate the efficacy and long-term safety of preterm formula supplemented with long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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