COLUMBIA, Md., July 7, 2005 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ -- Infants of mothers who supplemented with Martek DHA(TM) (docosahexaenoic acid) while breastfeeding had improved psychomotor skills at 2 1/2 years of age, according to a study published this month in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Martek DHA(TM) is an omega-3 fatty acid derived from an all-natural, vegetarian source (algae), and is the only DHA accepted by the FDA for use in U.S. infant formula. DHA is an important structural and functional component of the brain and retina.
The double-blind, placebo-controlled study, conducted at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, involved 227 breastfeeding moms who were given a 200 mg capsule of Martek DHA(TM) or placebo daily for 4 months, beginning 5 days after delivery. At 2 1/2 years of age, 160 of the children were tested for psychomotor development. The children of DHA-supplemented moms scored significantly higher on the Bayley Psychomotor Development Index (PDI), when compared to the children of the non-supplemented breastfeeding moms. The Bayley PDI assesses fine and gross motor skills (hand-eye coordination) in infants and children.
According to the study, the children were tested at 2 1/2 years of age because "assessments at this age are more predictive of later functions than are assessments at earlier ages."
The study also confirmed that DHA supplementation while breastfeeding effectively increases DHA levels in the mother's milk, as well as in the infant's blood. The moms supplemented with DHA had 75% more DHA in their breast milk than the control group and their infants had 35% higher DHA blood levels than the control group infants.
"This study adds to a growing body of evidence showing that DHA supplementation during breastfeeding results in long-term benefits for children. It also confirms that supplementing with DHA can significantly increase the level of DHA in mothers' milk and infant blood levels. This extremely important study suggests that women in the U.S. should consider DHA supplementation during pregnancy and nursing," said Dr. William Sears, pediatrician and author of the Family Nutrition Book. Dr. Sears also noted that use of Martek DHA(TM) avoids the concerns of pregnant and nursing women related to toxins associated with fish and fish products as sources of DHA.
Martek DHA(TM) is available for pregnant and nursing women in prenatal and nursing supplements, including Expecta(TM) Lipil(R) from Mead Johnson and OptiNate(TM) from First Horizon, and Oh Mama! nutrition bars. It is available to consumers of all ages through Neuromins(R) DHA dietary supplements and fortified foods including eggs and nutritional bars.
Developed by a process that extracts DHA from algae under tightly controlled manufacturing conditions, Martek DHA(TM) is free of oceanic pollutants and toxins that may be present in certain fish oils.
Martek Biosciences Corporation (MATK) develops, manufactures and sells products from microalgae. The Company's products include: (1) specialty, nutritional oils for infant formula that aid in the development of the eyes and central nervous system in newborns; (2) nutritional supplements and food ingredients that may play a beneficial role in promoting mental and cardiovascular health throughout life; and (3) powerful fluorescent markers for diagnostics, rapid miniaturized screening, and gene and protein detection.
This press release contains forward-looking statements regarding Martek's products. Such statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause future actual results to differ due to a variety of risk factors, including without limitation those factors set forth in Martek's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.