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Baby Nutrition: DHA and ARA

Question

My newborn twins are very gassy. Our doctor recommends switching to the Nutramigen formula from Enfamil. I'm hesitant because the Enfamil has the DHA/ARA added and the Nutramigen does not. Should we go ahead and switch or ride it out?

Answer

It could be worth switching to see if it helps. You should see an improvement within about three days if it will help at all. They will miss out on the DHA and ARA for a bit, but you could try switching back in just a few weeks, after the peak of gas is over.

There was a study published in March 2002 that looked at kids who did not get a DHA/ARA supplement for the first six weeks; then half got Lipil and the other half did not. The half who did had consistently better eyesight throughout the first year.

The body can make some DHA and ARA, but not the amounts normally found in breast milk. DHA and ARA are naturally found in breast milk, but they only recently were added to formulas in the U.S., although they have been used around the world for over five years.

The difference in intelligence in kids who get it throughout the first year is measurable (seven points on a 100-point scale of mental development), but the difference in getting three weeks off would probably not be measurable.

I hope that DHA and ARA will soon be available in all formulas. DHA is a type of omega-3 fatty acid. It is heart healthy and brain healthy throughout life. It is also found in seafood and eggs. One serving of salmon a week would take care of your (adult) needs, but it would not be expected to increase intelligence in adults. It's used to build brains and the most important time for that is early in life.

 

All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.