Docosahexaenoic Acid and Neurodevelopmental Outcomes of Term Infants

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Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid, is essential for normal brain development. DHA is found predominantly in seafood, fish oil, breastmilk and supplemented formula. DHA intake in Western countries is often below recommendations. Observational studies have demonstrated an association between DHA intake in pregnancy and neurodevelopment of offspring but cannot fully adjust for confounding factors that influence child development. Randomised clinical trials of DHA supplementation during pregnancy and/or lactation, and of term infants, have not shown a consistent benefit nor harm on neurodevelopment of healthy children born at term. The evidence does not support DHA supplementation of healthy pregnant and lactating women, nor healthy infants.

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