The Groningen LCPUFA study: no effect of postnatal long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in healthy term infants on neurological condition at 9 years

Corina de Jong, Hedwig K. Kikkert, Vaclav Fidler, Mijna Hadders-Algra*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Long-chain PUFA (LCPUFA) supplementation of formula can have beneficial effects on neurodevelopmental outcome in early infancy, but uncertainty exists regarding effects after 6 months. The present study is the first to investigate whether consumption by term infants of formula containing LCPUFA for the first 2 months after birth improves neurological condition of these children at 9 years of age. A prospective, double-blind, randomised control study was performed in two groups of healthy term infants: a control group with standard formula (n 169) and a LCPUFA-supplemented group (LF; n 146). A breast-fed group (BF; n 159) served as a reference. At age 9 years, children were neurologically assessed according to Touwen, resulting in a Neurological Optimality Score and information on severity and type of minor neurological dysfunction (MND). Information on potential confounders was collected at enrolment and follow-up. Multivariate analyses were carried out to evaluate the effect of nutrition while adjusting for confounders. Attrition (28 %) was selective: drop-outs in the LF group were more often boys and had a significantly lower mental developmental index at 18 months. Neurological optimality and severity and type of MND at 9 years did not differ between the two formula groups. Children in the BF group showed significantly less often fine manipulative dysfunction than formula-fed children. In conclusion, LCPUFA supplementation of formula during the first 2 postnatal months in healthy term infants does not alter neurological function at school age. The study confirmed that breast- fed infants have a slightly better neurodevelopmental outcome than formula-fed infants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)566-572
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of Nutrition
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug-2010


  • Long-chain PUFA
  • Neurodevelopment
  • Children
  • Breast-feeding
  • Groningen LCPUFA study
  • AGE
  • BORN

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