Omega-3 neglected in malnutrition product formulations: Researchers

© iStock.com / borgogniels

Omega-3 content is a neglected issue when formulating products to combat severe acute malnutrition in children, say international researchers.

“Current therapeutic feeds do not correct whole-blood levels of LCPUFA [long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids], particularly omega-3 LCPUFA, in children with severe acute malnutrition,” they wrote in the British Journal of Nutrition. 

The researchers from the Mulago Hospital and Makerere College of Health Sciences in Uganda, University of Copenhagen in Denmark and University of Waterloo in Canada called for “increased attention” to the issue. 

The paper looked at the whole-blood fatty acid composition of 120 children with severe acute malnutrition in Uganda at admission, transition, discharge and follow-up (eight and 16 weeks) as well as 29 healthy control children.

"Fatty acids are good sources of energy. However, effects of n-3 and n-6 fatty acids go far beyond their role as fuels, as they are essential nutrients with important physiological functions," the researchers wrote.

 A deficiency in these fatty acids can therefore result in scaly skin, reduced growth and increased infections among others."  

The children followed standard malnutrition treatment: milk-based formula F-75 as soon as possible after admission to restore physiological and metabolic functions, electrolytes and body weight; followed by a formula F-100 for energy and protein to support rapid catch-up growth and/or a ready-to-use therapeutic feed (RUTF). 

RUTF products are typically continued after discharge up to an average of eight weeks. 

The results showed a significant increase in omega-6 levels in the children during treatment.

However the researchers said decreases in omega-3 and arachidonic acid (AA) proportions from admission to discharge presented a “particular concern” given AA and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) play key functional roles in the brain, retina and immune system.   

“F-75 and F-100 formulations with higher omega-3 PUFA contents to decrease omega-6:omega-3 ratio and preformed LCPUFA may need to be considered in therapeutic diets for children with severe acute malnutrition,” they concluded. 

 

Source: British Journal of Nutrition

Published online ahead of print, doi:10.1017/S0007114516000817

“Changes in whole-blood PUFA and their predictors during recovery from severe acute malnutrition”

Authors: E. sther Babirekere-Iriso, C. G. Mortensen, E. Mupere, M. J. H. Rytter, H. Namusoke, K. F. Michaelsen, A. Briend, K. D. Stark, H. Friis and L. Lauritzen 

Related News

UNICEF: “80% of the world’s aid is delivered in war zones, but sadly [in Syria] we have to negotiate a level of complexity I’m not sure has ever been seen before.” © iStock.com / RadekProcyk

Hunger under siege: How UNICEF is tackling malnutrition in Syria

The 2016 Report launches this week in seven cities – Beijing, Johannesburg, Nairobi, New Delhi, New York, Stockholm and Washington D.C. ((© iStock.com/borgogniels)

Escalation in obesity 'fuelling rise in malnutrition'

Omega-3 intake in India is among the lowest in the world. ©iStock

India’s omega-3 deficiency a potential ‘public health crisis’

© iStock

China does best at reducing Asian hunger; India and Pakistan languish

56% of the RUTF products UNICEF procured in 2016 came from suppliers in malnutrition programme countries, up from 38% in 2015. ©UNICEF US

UNICEF goes local with RUTF products in war against malnutrition

"It’s very important to have the mind set shift that these kinds of problems can be solved in places like Africa for Africa," says Kenyan producer of fortified peanut butter supplements. © iStock.com / borgogniels

Made in Africa: €12m investment boosts Kenyan supplement production

Inadequate nutrition limits recovery from infection and the ability of the immune system to fight off infection, thereby setting up a vicious cycle of malnutrition and illness. (© iStock.com)

Escaping the malnutrition cycle: Studies aim to optimise nutrition supplementation

One carton of 150 sachets is required to treat a severly malnourished child, UNICEF says

€4.5m supplement project targets malnutrition in Kenyan children

'The benefit of a food vs. pill is the ‘belly fill’ and calorie benefits,' says Hershey

Hershey fortified peanut butter project feeds Ghanaian stomachs and economy

Peanut butter, the new weapon to fight world hunger?

DHA supplements for lactating women may offer breast milk and baby benefits

DHA supplements for lactating women may offer breast milk and baby benefits

Related Products

See more related products

Submit a comment

Your comment has been saved

Post a comment

Please note that any information that you supply is protected by our Privacy and Cookie Policy. Access to all documents and request for further information are available to all users at no costs, In order to provide you with this free service, William Reed Business Media SAS does share your information with companies that have content on this site. When you access a document or request further information from this site, your information maybe shared with the owners of that document or information.