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17th January 2012: European Health Claims for DHA and Children’s Health and Development Put into Law

On May 26 2011, the European Union put into law three article 14 health claims relating to the role of DHA in pre-natal and infant development:

•Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) intake contributes to the normal visual development of infants up to 12 months of age.
•Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) maternal intake contributes to the normal development of the eye of the foetus and breastfed infants.
•Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) maternal intake contributes to the normal brain development of the foetus and breastfed infants.


The European Commission determined that DHA contributes to the normal eye and brain development of the fetus and infants. DHA was acknowledged as a major structural and functional long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid in the brain. It is provided to the infant through supplemented infant formulas, and through breast milk, for which levels are dependent on maternal intakes and body stores.

Key research leading to this decision include this pooled analysis by Morale and co-workers published in the journal Early Human Development, that showed improvements in visual acuity after long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation, and this review and consensus from the World Association of Perinatal Medicine lead by Koletzko. The EU has rejected 34 and accepted only 11 article 14 health claims, which relate to infant and child development, so this regulation reflects the strength of the evidence behind DHA as an essential nutrient for the developing brain and eye.
 

This article reproduced from: TalkingNutrition.

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