Objective: To study the effect of modified PUFA profiles of complementary food on LC-PUFA composition in healthy infants.
Design: Double blinded, randomized, controlled intervention trial.
Setting: Dortmund, Germany.
Patients: free-living sample of healthy term infants.
Methods: Participants were randomized within the first 2 months of life. During the intervention period from 4 to 10 months, the control group (CG, n=53) received commercial complementary meals with corn oil (3.4 g/meal) rich in n-6 linoleic acid (LA), the intervention group (IG, n=49) received the same meals with rapeseed oil (1.6 g/meal) rich in n-3 alpha-linoleinic acid (ALA). FA intake was assessed from dietary records throughout the intervention period. FA proportions (% of total FA) in total plasma were analyzed before and after the intervention.
Results: Plasma FA profiles did not differ between the IG and CG before the intervention. During the intervention, the only difference in FA intake between the IG and CG was a higher intake of ALA in the IG, 21 % deriving from study food, and a lower ratio of LA/ALA (10.7 vs 14.8). At the end of the intervention, the plasma proportions of total n-3 FA and of n-3 LC-PUFA, but not of ALA were higher and the ratios of n-6/n-3 FA were lower in the IG.
Conclusions: Feasible dietary modifications of the precursor FA profile via n-3 PUFA rich vegetable oil favored n-3 LC-PUFA synthesis in the complementary feeding period when LC-PUFA intake from breast milk and formula is decreasing.