ARA and DHA – essential building blocks

Arachidonic acid (ARA)
  • An omega-6 fatty acid
  • Present in the phospholipids of cell membranes
  • Abundant in brain, muscles and blood vessels
  • Substrate for prostaglandins and leukotrienes
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
  • An omega-3 fatty acid
  • Abundantly found in brain and retina
    • 40% of PUFAs in brain
    • 60% of PUFAs in retina
  • Supports cell signalling properties, e.g. modulates transport of choline
ARA and DHA – essential nutrients in fetal life
  • Selectively transported across the fetoplacental barrier
  • Essential nutrients for normal growth and development during fetal life:
    • structural components of brain
    • needed for retinal development
    • anti-inflammatory properties
    • regulation of immune responses
    • contributing to cell membrane fluidity and integrity
Sufficient and balanced intake is recommended
  • At preterm birth, the high placental supply of ARA and DHA is terminated
  • ESPGHAN recommends an ample intake in the following amounts:
    • ARA intake of 30-100 mg/kg/d
    • DHA intake of 30-65 mg/kg/d
  • Human breast milk contains ARA:DHA in a balanced 2:1 ratio, but amounts are insufficient
  • NeoMega36® provides a sufficient and balanced intake of those nutrients in line with the ESPGHAN recommendation:
    • ARA intake of 100 mg/kg/d
    • DHA intake of 50 mg/kg/d