COLUMBIA, Md., April 14, 2005 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ -- Infant formula supplemented with DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and ARA (arachidonic acid) significantly benefits infant development, according to two new studies. One study showed benefits to visual acuity in term infants, while the other demonstrated enhanced growth and higher Bayley mental and psychomotor development of preterm infants. Both studies used Enfamil Lipil(R) infant formulas from Mead Johnson Nutritionals, which contain levels of DHA and ARA similar to median worldwide amounts reported for breast milk (0.36% DHA and 0.72% ARA of total fatty acids).
The study published in the April 2005 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that term infants fed infant formula supplemented with DHA/ARA during the first year of life demonstrated "clear differences in visual function." The study randomly assigned 103 term infants to receive either formula supplemented with Martek's DHA and ARA or formula without DHA and ARA (the control group). Visual acuity in the DHA/ARA supplemented group was "significantly better" than the control group each time the infants were tested at 6, 17, 26, and 52 weeks of age. The article notes that the only other large, 12-month study of DHA/ARA supplemented formula measuring visual acuity used a formula with relatively low levels of DHA/ARA and failed to find a functional benefit.
The other study published in the April 2005 issue of The Journal of Pediatrics found that infant formula supplemented with DHA and ARA (produced by Martek) resulted in enhanced growth and higher Bayley mental and psychomotor development scores in preterm infants. In this study, 361 preterm infants were randomly assigned to receive formula without DHA/ARA supplementation (the control group), formula supplemented with Martek's algal- DHA and ARA, or formula supplemented with fish oil-DHA and ARA. The study also used breast fed term infants as a reference group. The preterm infants fed formula supplemented with Martek's algal-DHA and ARA weighed significantly more than the control group from 66 to 118 weeks PMA (postmenstrual age) and the fish oil-DHA group at 118 weeks. These infants also had weights comparable to the breast fed term infants in the reference group. In addition, the infants fed formula with Martek's algal-DHA and ARA were significantly longer than the control group at 48, 79, and 92 weeks PMA and the fish-DHA group at 57, 79 and 92 weeks PMA. The groups receiving supplemental DHA and ARA also had higher mental and psychomotor development scores at 118 weeks. Algal-DHA produced by Martek is the only type of DHA currently accepted for use in U.S. infant formulas.
"I believe that these findings further support the compelling evidence of the importance of DHA and ARA in infant development. Parents can make sure infants receive an adequate amount of these nutrients by selecting an infant formula with a sufficient level of DHA and ARA. In addition, women who are breastfeeding can take a DHA dietary supplement to ensure adequate levels of DHA in their breast milk. This is particularly important because pregnant and nursing women in the U.S. do not typically receive enough DHA through their diets to pass on the necessary amount to their developing infants," stated Henry "Pete" Linsert, Jr., Chairman and CEO of Martek.
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.