Nestle USA is the latest formula maker to launch a product with the two fatty acids, docosahexaenoic acid and arachidonic acid, associated with good brain and visual development in babies.
The Good Start Supreme DHA & ARA formula is now available nationwide and is said to have one of the highest levels of DHA and ARA available in the United States. Mead Johnson Nutritionals and Ross Products also market formulas with added DHA and ARA, supplied by Martek Bioscience. The company's microalgae-derived fatty acids are the only source of these nutrients cleared for use in US infant formula.
Martek and Nestle signed a license agreement in June for the use of this technology. It is currently included in formulas sold in over 60 countries around the world.
To stand out from competitors' formulas, Nestle has added its Comfort Proteins, whey proteins that are already broken down, or partially hydrolyzed, to facilitate easy digestion and decrease the potential for formula intolerance.
The proteins also reduce the risk of babies developing sensitivities to certain proteins, according to Nestle. When some babies are exposed to certain food proteins, their immune system produces antibodies to recognize and attack the proteins, a process called protein sensitization. When used from the onset of formula feeding, Nestle Good Start Supreme DHA & ARA with Comfort Proteins reduces the risk of protein sensitization.
A study published in the June 2003 Journal of Pediatrics conducted by The Retina Foundation of the Southwest in Dallas, Texas, showed that infants breastfed for four to six months, then weaned to a DHA and ARA supplemented formula experienced significantly better visual acuity at one year of age than those infants fed the non-supplemented formula.