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Eur J Clin Nutr. 2006 Jul;60(7):915-20. Epub 2006 Mar 8.

Randomised controlled trial of essential fatty acid supplementation in phenylketonuria.

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Department of Metabolic Medicine, Great Ormond St. Hospital for Sick Children, London, UK.



The long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA) status of children with PKU is often compromised. LC-PUFA, which are important fatty acids in the development of the CNS, can be synthesised endogenously from the parent essential fatty acids (EFA) provided dietary intakes are adequate. This study was designed to assess the biochemical effect over a 20-week period of a phe-free protein substitute that has been supplemented with a balanced blend of n-3 and n-6 EFAs on LC-PUFA status of children with PKU.


Fifty three community-living children aged 1-10 years diagnosed with PKU in the newborn period were recruited from seven tertiary centres in the UK and France and randomised to a fat-free control formula or the EFA-supplemented test-treatment formula in an open, prospective study. Forty four children completed the study (20 controls, 24 test-treatments). Fatty acid status was assessed at entry and 20-weeks follow-up. Three day dietary diaries were recorded at 20 weeks' follow-up. The safety, efficacy and palatability of the test-treatment formula were also assessed.


The test-treatment group had significantly higher intakes of fat and EFA than the control group. There was a significant between group difference (P=0.04) in increases in median docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) concentrations in erythrocyte phospholipids, which increased by 19% in the test-treatment group and by 0.5% in the control group over the study period. Growth and phe control were satisfactory in all subjects.


Supplementing the diets of children with PKU with a balanced blend of n-6 and n-3 EFA improves DHA status without compromising AA status.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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