Longchain polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation in preterm infants

Moon et al, Cochrane Neonatal Group, 20 December 2016baby-bottle-feeding



Controversy exists over whether longchain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA) are essential nutrients for preterm infants because they may not be able to synthesise sufficient amounts of LCPUFA to meet the needs of the developing brain and retina.


To assess whether supplementation of formula milk with LCPUFA is safe and of benefit to preterm infants. The main areas of interest were the effects of supplementation on the visual function, development and growth of preterm infants.

Authors’ conclusions

Infants enrolled in the trials were relatively mature and healthy preterm infants. Assessment schedule and methodology, dose and source of supplementation and fatty acid composition of the control formula varied between trials. On pooling of results, no clear long-term benefits or harms were demonstrated for preterm infants receiving LCPUFA-supplemented formula.