Formula with DHA and ARA Improves Infants' Immunity, Study Finds

Results of a new study released this week in the June 2010 issue of The Journal of Pediatrics show that infants fed Enfamil(R) LIPIL(R) containing DHA and ARA during the first year of life experienced improved immune outcomes, including improved respiratory health, versus infants fed the same formulation without these beneficial lipids — and this health benefit was shown for the first three years of life. The study was conducted by researchers at the Retina Foundation of the Southwest.

A routine cow's milk formula supplemented with DHA and ARA (Enfamil LIPIL) or the same formula with no DHA or ARA (now discontinued Enfamil with Iron) was fed to infants within the first week of life through 12 months in randomized, double-blind studies. Results of the study revealed infants fed the supplemented formula experienced improved immune health relative to the infants fed the unsupplemented formula. In this study, immune health was assessed looking at a variety of clinical outcomes related to respiratory and skin health based on a review of infants' medical charts. Improvements were demonstrated in most of the outcomes assessed in the study.

Since the conclusion of the study, the Enfamil LIPIL formulation has been further enhanced with Natural Defense(TM) Dual Prebiotics, and is available in the marketplace under the Enfamil PREMIUM(TM) name.

Human milk is considered the gold standard in terms of nutrition for infants, since it provides a variety of biological factors, including antibodies, which help support the development of the infant's immune system. Results from this study show that mothers who cannot or choose not to breastfeed may benefit their infants' respiratory health by feeding an infant formula that has been supplemented with DHA and ARA at levels similar to the worldwide breast milk average. This new study adds to the growing body of research showing that early feeding with Enfamil formulas supplemented with expert-recommended levels of DHA and ARA supports long-term beneficial outcomes for health and development. For example, another study by Birch, et. al., published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in February 2010 — titled The DIAMOND (DHA Intake and Measurement of Neural Development) Study — reported that infants fed a routine infant formula supplemented with DHA at 0.32% of total fatty acids (Enfamil LIPIL) had improved visual acuity through 12 months of age compared to infants fed the same formulation without supplementation (Enfamil with Iron). Another study of those same formulas published in Child Development by Drover, et al., in October 2009 compared problem-solving ability among 9-month-old infants. Infants were assessed with a 2-step problem-solving task as a measure of mental development, and those who were fed the supplemented formula had more successful task completions and higher goal-directed behaviors than infants fed the unsupplemented formula.

Mead Johnson pioneered the inclusion of DHA and ARA in infant formula in the United States, and millions of babies worldwide have been fed similarly enhanced formulas. Global experts, including the World Health Organization (WHO), the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the American Dietetic Association/Dieticians of Canada, specify their use for infants who are not breastfed. As recently as March 2010, the Agence Francaise De Securite Sanitaire Des Aliments (AFSSA) recognized DHA as an essential fatty acid and set a dietary recommended intake level of 0.32% of total fatty acids by infants 6 months to 1 year of age. This is the same level found in Enfamil infant formulas. In its published opinion, AFSSA also recognized DHA as a major constituent for the brain and visual structure and function.

About Mead Johnson Nutrition

Mead Johnson Nutrition, a global leader in pediatric nutrition, develops, manufactures, markets and distributes more than 70 products in 60 markets worldwide. The company's mission is to create nutritional brands and products trusted to give infants and children the best start in life. The Mead Johnson name has been associated with science-based pediatric nutrition products for over 100 years. The company's "Enfa" family of brands, including Enfamil(R)infant formula, is the world's leading brand franchise in pediatric nutrition. For more information, go to

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