Early Life Nutrition

LCPUFAs: providing health benefits beyond the brain


The first few years of a child’s life are the most important when it comes to growth and development – so it’s no surprise that parents are taking an interest in nutrition that best supports them. The long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs) DHA and ARA are attracting attention from today’s well-informed parents – and for good reason.

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There’s already a bank of evidence supporting the role of DHA and ARA in infant brain health. Studies show that DHA can help the developing brain via their involvement in processes like neurotransmission and neurogenesis.[i] Meanwhile, ARA supports cell division and signalling, and helps to reduce oxidative stress.[ii] And looking ahead to later in childhood, LCPUFA supplementation could even help cognitive ability[iii] and health, as well as behaviour.[iv]

But the benefits of DHA and ARA go beyond the brain. Eye health is an established area, with the EU authorising a health claim stating that maternal DHA intake contributes to eye development in both the foetus and breast-fed infants.[v] Interestingly, DHA and ARA may also have a positive influence on immunity. Studies have shown a reduced risk of common respiratory symptoms and illnesses,[vi] and delayed common allergic diseases in children up to three years of age.[vii]

At FrieslandCampina Ingredients, we understand that early diet is important to help deliver these health benefits. That’s why we are harnessing our formulation and ingredients expertise to encapsulate and protect the quality of LCPUFAs, to provide the very best in early life nutrition ingredients.

Want to know more about the health benefits of DHA and ARA and how we can help you translate them into early life nutrition product success? Download our white paper below ⬇


[i] Innis, S. M. (2007). Dietary (n-3) fatty acids and brain development. In Journal of Nutrition. https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/137.4.855

[ii] FAO 2010 FAO Food and Nutrition Paper 91.

[iii] In line with the advice of the European Academy of Paediatrics and the Child Health Foundation and based on dosages used in clinical studies (Richard et al., 2016; Lapillonne et al., 2014; Birch et al., 2010; Field et al.,2008)

[iv] Kuratko, C. N., Barrett, E. C., Nelson, E. B., & Salem, N. (2013). The relationship of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) with

learning and behavior in healthy children: A review. In Nutrients. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu5072777

[v] DHA and ARA and Visual Development – Scientific Substantiation of a Health Claim Related to Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) and Arachidonic Acid (ARA) and Visual Development Pursuant to Article14 of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006,” 2009

[vi] Lapillonne, A., Pastor, N., Zhuang, W., & Scalabrin, D. M. F. (2014). Infants fed formula with added long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids have reduced incidence of respiratory illnesses and diarrhea during the first year of life. BMC Pediatrics. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2431-14-168

[vii] Richard, C., Lewis, E. D., & Field, C. J. (2016). Evidence for the essentiality of arachidonic and docosahexaenoic acid in the postnatal maternal and infant diet for the development of the infant’s immune system early in life. In Applied physiology, nutrition, and metabolism = Physiologie appliquee, nutrition et metabolisme. https://doi.org/10.1139/apnm-2015-0660


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