Infant formulas fortified with long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA) are good for developing brains and hearts according to new evidence provided by scientists.
In the University of Kansas study, researchers fed 122 term infants one of four formulas from birth to 12 months, three were given varying levels of two LCPUFAs (DHA and ARA) and one formula with no LCPUFA, and tested at four, six and nine months of age.
John Colombo and Susan Carlson simultaneously measured the heart rate and visual attentiveness of infants while they looked at images of adult human faces.
They found that infants who were fed fortified formula were more cognitively advanced and their heart rates were lower than infants who were fed formula without LCPUFA.
The formula with the lowest level of LCPUFA - 0.3 percent level - was found to be sufficient to produce these benefits.
Colombo, a neuroscientist who specializes in the measurement of early neurocognitive development, said that the findings add to the mounting evidence that these nutritional compounds positively affect brain and behavioural development.