Study measures impact of balancing essential fats with added DHA omega-3

6-Dec-2021

The research on AlaskOmega fish oil has been used to demonstrate the importance of omega-3 DHA for childhood brain development

Study measures impact of balancing essential fats with added DHA omega-3

Adding DHA-rich fish oil to ready-to-eat therapeutic foods significantly improves brain development in malnourished infants and children. These findings, recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, are the first to measure impact of balancing essential fats with added DHA omega-3 on cognitive development in severely malnourished children in Malawi, Africa.

Peanut-based, vegetable-oil rich ready-to-eat-therapeutic foods (RUTF) support anthropometric/muscle growth and development but are void of DHA omega-3.

DHA is crucial for brain development and must be consumed through diet or supplements because humans cannot produce omega-3 essential fats. Previous research has shown that vegetable seed-oil rich diets further increase demand for DHA omega-3.

Our study shows that balanced fats and including omega-3 DHA is important for long term mental development

This triple-blind, randomised controlled clinical trial in 2,565 children aged 6 months to 5 years compared standard RUTF to RUTF fortified with AlaskOmega fish oil. Tested 6 months after intervention, children fed AlaskOmega DHA-fortified RUTF had significantly improved global developmental scores, driven by gross motor, and social scores. Examples of gross motor skills include unassisted walking, hopping, or tossing a ball, and social skills include intentional pointing or drinking from a cup.

"Our study shows that balanced fats and including omega-3 DHA is important for long term mental development in the 16 million children who suffer annually from severe acute malnutrition," said Tom Brenna, co-senior study author and Professor of Pediatrics at the Dell Pediatric Research Institute, at the University of Texas at Austin. "As importantly, this study highlights the central role of nutrition specifically for brain development in all children."

"We were thrilled to participate in this important project and contribute to research demonstrating the life-altering benefits of omega-3 nutrition on cognitive development," said Gretchen Vannice, Director of Nutrition Education and Research at Wiley Companies.

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Wiley Companies (formerly Organic Technologies) is the parent company for the global brands AlaskOmega and Wiley’s Finest family of products.

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