Background and aims Very low birth weight (VLBW) infants have a greater risk for the oxidative stress related diseases (OSRDs) like retinopathy of prematurity, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, periventricular leukomalacia and necrotizing enterocolitis. Naturel antioxidant activity of phenols, flavonoid and tocopherols in extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) may be preventive for the OSRDs. The purpose of conducting a randomised controlled pilot study is to compare the weight gaining, length of hospitalisation and the OSRDs of VLBW infants who received early enteral nurtition with and without EVOO support.
Methods VLBW newborns were divided into two groups in this pilot study. Group 1 received enteral nutrition and EVOO, Group 2 received only enteral nutrition. Nutritional analysis was undertaken for EVOO that was added as 0.5 ml/day in 100 ml enteral nutrition. Total parenteral nutrition (TPN) and minimal enteral nutrition was initiated both of two groups.
Results A total of 26 VLBW infants were divided into two groups (Group 1)(n = 13) and (Group 2) (n = 13) and assessed the birth weight: Group 1= 1,329 ± 35 g, Group 2 = 1,276 ± 32 g. gestational age: Group 1= 31 ± 2.79, Group 2 =29 ± 2 weeks. There was no significant difference between two groups for weight gaining, length of hospitalisation and the OSRDs.
Conclusions EVOO is very important natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients for preterm infants particularly VLBW. A larger randomised controlled trials are needed to show the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of olive oil for prevention of OSRDs in this high risk group.