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Fortified juices boost omega-3 levels in children

Fortified juice could offer an alternative to fish for boosting levels of healthy omega-3 fats in children.

Fortified juices boost omega-3 levels in children

Fortified juice could offer an alternative to fish for boosting levels of healthy omega-3 fats in children. Omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is one of the essential fatty acids, which is not synthesised by the human body and must be consumed through food. DHA is abundant in the brain and retina, and is believed to play an important role in early brain and eye development. Fatty fish, such as salmon and mackerel, are the richest source of omega-3 fatty acids. However, with the exception of breaded fish sticks, which are not made from omega-3-rich fatty fish, children tend to shun fish. To evaluate the effects of providing a supplement of DHA in juice, researchers from America used orange juice fortified with DHA derived from algae and randomly assigned 31 children, aged 4 to 12 years, to drink juice containing either 50 mg or 100 mg of DHA every day for six weeks. DHA content was measured before and after six weeks of daily juice consumption. Because there are no data for DHA content in healthy children, data were compared to that of breastfed infants. At the end of the study, children in both groups showed increases in their blood levels of DHA, on average. Thus, orange juice fortified with the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) was able to raise blood levels of DHA. The above findings indicate that souped-up juice is one effective way to deliver the fatty acid. It is still however unclear whether these increases translate into health benefits.
Journal of the American Dietetic Association
April 2009
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