July 24, 2020 4 min read
You have probably already heard about the importance of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids for babies. These are so-called polyunsaturated long-chain fatty acids, or LCPs (Long Chain Polyunsaturated fatty acids). If you want to understand what they are and what they mean for your baby's diet, you've come to the right place.
LPCs are essential for people of all ages and has to be ingested through our diet. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which is one of the omega-3 fatty acids, and arachidonic acid (ARA), which is one of the omega-6 fatty acids, play a decisive role in this respect. The human organism also builds them up by itself, but to do so, it needs another omega-3 fatty acid, namely alpha-linolenic acid, and the omega-6 fatty acid linoleic acid.
The amount of DHA and ARA which the human body can build from alpha-linolenic acid and linoleic acid is limited and not sufficient on its own. But don't worry - all of our formulas contain additional DHA and ARA so that they can fulfill all the important functions in your baby's body.
You are probably asking yourself: Why exactly are LCPs in baby food so important? What do these omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids do? Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids (such as DHA and ARA) are important for normal development of the brain, nervous system, sensory organs (especially the retina) and intelligence. They are mainly stored in the brain in the first months after birth.
LCPs are true all-rounders: they promote brain and vision development of infants.
The formulas on our shop must meet strict nutritional standards set out by the the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) which regulates the permissible levels of DHA and ARA in infant and follow-on formula. These regulations are in place to ensure that babies are getting enough DHA and ARA for healthy development. If your baby is breastfeed, there are also steps you can take to make sure your breast milk contains enough DHA. A study conducted by the International Breastfeeding Journal in the USA has shown that mothers' intake of DHA affects how much DHA they can pass on to the baby with their breast milk - and as you know now: this is essential for your baby's vision development, for example.
Omega-3 fatty acids also have an anti-inflammatory effect and ensure an intact immune system - a deficiency can lead to increased susceptibility to infections. Omega-6 fatty acids, on the other hand, serves to produce hormones and acts as messenger substances in the brain.
Omega-6 fatty acids can inhibit the build-up of omega-6 fatty acids in the body and, thus, have a negative effect on your child's mental development and lifelong learning ability, which is why a balance of omega 3 and 6 is so important!
Omega 3 plays a special role in visual health. DHA is an important structural fat in the brain and retina of the eye. This fat accounts for up to 97% of the omega-3 fats in the brain and up to 93% of the omega-3 fats in the retina. It is also an essential building block for the heart.
Some research suggests that both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids may help to prevent asthma and eczema in childhood.
Adding DHA to baby formula has become mandatory in Europe. Therefore, many manufacturers, like Holle, have upgraded their formulas to meet the new standard.
In addition to LCPs, GOS are an important ingredient in baby food as they work to support a healthy gut flora in your baby. GOS have a prebiotic effect and thus promote the growth of good bacteria in the baby's stomach. Indirectly they also support bone growth - which is why GOS are a particularly important special ingredient in many of our baby milks.
If you are not 100% sure that you have understood all this in detail, don't worry too much. As long as you take care of your own health and, if breastfeeding is not an option, choose milk substitutes carefully (and you certainly will if you read our articles here) you are doing a lot of things right!
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Please be aware that this information is based on general guidelines for babies, it is in no way medical advice. Your doctor should be your first source of information and advice to consider any changes to your child’s formula and to choose your child’s formula. Always consult your pediatrician before making any decisions about your child’s diet or if you notice any changes in your child.
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