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EFAs Benefit Infants' Visual Acuity

Supplementing infants' formula with essential fatty acids (EFAs) appears to increase visual acuity, according to a study published in the April 2005 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Researchers from the Retina Foundation of the Southwest and the UT Southwestern Medical Center conducted a double masked, randomized, controlled trial in 103 term infants. At five days old, the infants were randomly assigned to receive either formula with no docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) or arachidonic acid (ARA), or formula supplemented with DHA and ARA as 0.36 percent and 0.72 percent, respectively, of total fatty acids; primary outcome was sweep visual evoked potential (VEP) acuity.

VEP acuity in the EFA supplemented group was significantly better than that in the control group at six, 17, 26 and 52 weeks. In addition, supplementation increased red blood cell DHA concentration by almost three times that of the control group by 39 weeks.


American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (81, 4:871-9) April, 2005.

Key concepts: Omega-3, Essential Fatty Acids, EFA, DHA, ARA, infant visual acuity