Evaluation of a Local Infant Formula Enriched with Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids
Zvi Weizman, Elena Brutman, Drora Leader, Chaim Zegerman
Pediatric Gastroenterology Dept. and Nutrition Unit, Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Soroka Medical Center, Beer Sheba;
and Ma'abarot Products Industry, Kibbutz Ma'abarot
Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) are vital for the normal development of the brain and the eye retina in infancy. Breast milk contains significant amounts of PUFA, and compensates for their low production in infancy. Only recently a few companies with worldwide product distribution have started to enrich infant formula with PUFA. We evaluated the safety and clinical efficacy of a locally made PUFA-enriched infant formula, produced for the first time in Israel.
50 normal, full term infants participated in a prospective, randomized double-blind study. Half received a regular whey-predominant infant formula (Materna Plus), and the other half a PUFA-enriched formula (Materna Premium), both produced in Israel, for 30 days. Evaluation included physical examination, growth parameters, stool analysis, daily parental questionnaires regarding infant behavior and defecation, and developmental assessment.
There were no significant differences on comparing growth parameters, infant behavior, attacks of restlessness, gas severity, or stool characteristics in the 2 groups. There were no side effects or abnormal stool findings in either group, and no differences in developmental assessment at 3 months of age.
We conclude that the locally-produced PUFA-enriched infant formula is safe and clinically efficient. We assume that the lack of any effect on developmental indices is due to the relatively short exposure to the PUFA-enriched diet. Nevertheless, based on the recent literature, there is no doubt that PUFA supplementation isvital in improving infant brain and eye development.