Wed Feb 11, 2009 12:30 pm
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Wed Feb 11, 2009 2:17 pm
melodie wrote:so does anybody know if its okay to mix formulas. I mean there are obviously some formulas that are better for the baby because they have the DHRA ARA....the good stuff for brain and eye development but they are the most expensive so I was wondering couldn't you buy both the cheeper stuff and the more expensive good suff and then make the bottle half an half? Or does that mess with the formula?
What is troublesome, however, is that some infant formulas contain DHA- and ARA-containing oils that are novel foods—extracted from laboratory-grown fermented algae and fungus and processed utilizing a toxic chemical, hexane. These algal and fungal oils provide DHA and ARA in forms that are structurally different from those naturally found in human milk. These manufactured oils are known as DHASCO and ARASCO, which stand for docosahexaenoic acid single cell oil and arachidonic acid single cell oil.
These oils are produced by Martek Biosciences Corporation and appear to be added to infant formula primarily as a marketing tool designed to convince parents that formula is now “as close as ever to breast milk.” Substantiating this thesis is a Martek investment promotion from 1996, which reads as follows: “Even if [the DHA/ARA blend] has no benefit, we think it would be widely incorporated into formulas, as a marketing tool and to allow companies to promote their formula as ‘closest to human milk.'”
Scientists have conducted numerous studies that show little or no benefit to an infant’s development from adding DHASCO and ARASCO to infant formula. Overall, research results are inconsistent and inconclusive. Meanwhile, the formula companies have advertised aggressively in an attempt to convince parents that their DHA/ARA formula provides the same nutrients, and therefore the same benefits, as breast milk.
A former employee for the Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) in Texas explains: “Since they added these oils to formula, many new mothers seem to believe that formula is just as good for their babies as breast milk. It became much harder for us at WIC to convince mothers to breastfeed when formula ads claim that formula is as close as ever to breast milk.”
Mainstream web sources on DHA and ARA offer little reassurance. The Food and Drug Administration's FAQ page about infant formula says there is mixed evidence of short term benefit and no evidence of long term benefit. FDA says systematic monitoring is not in place to assess risks and benefits in countries where these addititives have been used, and the agency has asked formula makers to do postmarket surveillance of infants who consume these additives.
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