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Dietary Docosahexaenoic Acid and Arachidonic Acid in Early Life: What Is the Best Evidence for Policymakers?

Journal Article


Abstract


  • Background: A wealth of information on the functional roles

    of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (ARA)

    from cellular, animal, and human studies is available. Yet,

    there remains a lack of cohesion in policymaking for recommended

    dietary intakes of DHA and ARA in early life. This is

    predominantly driven by inconsistent findings from a relatively

    small number of randomised clinical trials (RCTs),

    which vary in design, methodology, and outcome measures,

    all of which were conducted in high-income countries. It is

    proposed that this selective evidence base may not fully represent

    the biological importance of DHA and ARA during

    early and later life and the aim of this paper is to consider a

    more inclusive and pragmatic approach to evidence assessment

    of DHA and ARA requirements in infants and young

    children, which will allow policymaking to reflect the marked

    diversity of need worldwide. Summary: Data from clinical

    RCTs is considered in the context of the extensive evidence

    from experimental, animal and human observational studies.

    Although the RCT data shows evidence of beneficial effects

    on visual function and in specific cognitive domains,

    early methodological approaches do not reflect current

    thinking and this undermines the strength of evidence. An

    outline of a framework for an inclusive and pragmatic approach

    to policy development on dietary DHA and ARA in

    early life is described. Conclusion: High-quality RCTs that will

    determine long-term health outcomes in appropriate realworld

    settings need to be undertaken. In the meantime, a

    collective pragmatic approach to evidence assessment, may

    allow public health policymakers to make comprehensive

    reasoned judgements on the merits, costs, and expediency

    of dietary DHA and ARA interventions.

Authors


  •   Forsyth, Stewart (external author)
  •   Calder, Philip C. (external author)
  •   Zotor, Francis (external author)
  •   Amuna, Paul (external author)
  •   Meyer, Barbara J.
  •   Holub, Bruce (external author)

Publication Date


  • 2018

Citation


  • Forsyth, S., Calder, P. C., Zotor, F., Amuna, P., Meyer, B. & Holub, B. (2018). Dietary Docosahexaenoic Acid and Arachidonic Acid in Early Life: What Is the Best Evidence for Policymakers?. Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism: European journal of nutrition, metabolic diseases and dietetics, 72 (3), 210-222.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-85043710236

Number Of Pages


  • 12

Start Page


  • 210

End Page


  • 222

Volume


  • 72

Issue


  • 3

Place Of Publication


  • Switzerland

Abstract


  • Background: A wealth of information on the functional roles

    of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (ARA)

    from cellular, animal, and human studies is available. Yet,

    there remains a lack of cohesion in policymaking for recommended

    dietary intakes of DHA and ARA in early life. This is

    predominantly driven by inconsistent findings from a relatively

    small number of randomised clinical trials (RCTs),

    which vary in design, methodology, and outcome measures,

    all of which were conducted in high-income countries. It is

    proposed that this selective evidence base may not fully represent

    the biological importance of DHA and ARA during

    early and later life and the aim of this paper is to consider a

    more inclusive and pragmatic approach to evidence assessment

    of DHA and ARA requirements in infants and young

    children, which will allow policymaking to reflect the marked

    diversity of need worldwide. Summary: Data from clinical

    RCTs is considered in the context of the extensive evidence

    from experimental, animal and human observational studies.

    Although the RCT data shows evidence of beneficial effects

    on visual function and in specific cognitive domains,

    early methodological approaches do not reflect current

    thinking and this undermines the strength of evidence. An

    outline of a framework for an inclusive and pragmatic approach

    to policy development on dietary DHA and ARA in

    early life is described. Conclusion: High-quality RCTs that will

    determine long-term health outcomes in appropriate realworld

    settings need to be undertaken. In the meantime, a

    collective pragmatic approach to evidence assessment, may

    allow public health policymakers to make comprehensive

    reasoned judgements on the merits, costs, and expediency

    of dietary DHA and ARA interventions.

Authors


  •   Forsyth, Stewart (external author)
  •   Calder, Philip C. (external author)
  •   Zotor, Francis (external author)
  •   Amuna, Paul (external author)
  •   Meyer, Barbara J.
  •   Holub, Bruce (external author)

Publication Date


  • 2018

Citation


  • Forsyth, S., Calder, P. C., Zotor, F., Amuna, P., Meyer, B. & Holub, B. (2018). Dietary Docosahexaenoic Acid and Arachidonic Acid in Early Life: What Is the Best Evidence for Policymakers?. Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism: European journal of nutrition, metabolic diseases and dietetics, 72 (3), 210-222.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-85043710236

Number Of Pages


  • 12

Start Page


  • 210

End Page


  • 222

Volume


  • 72

Issue


  • 3

Place Of Publication


  • Switzerland