Published online by Cambridge University Press: 14 December 2007
The ultimate goal in the design of infant formula is to achieve the outcome seen in breast fed infants. This review of lipids in infant formulas for term infants begins by referring to the lipid composition of human milk, and relates that to differences in lipid digestion and metabolism which exist between breast fed and formula fed infants and which may significantly influence fatty acid bioavailability.
Recommendations are made for the lipid content and fatty acid composition of term infant formulas (especially for lauric, linoleic, α-linolenic, long chain 20 and 22C n-3 and n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids and the trans fatty acids).
Further research is required to define more clearly the long term nutritional, growth and developmental effects of structured lipids in formulas for term infants. More information is required on the differential handling of LCPUFA and other fatty acids at the organ and cellular level. There is a need for large (multi-centre) randomized studies to determine the short and long term functional effects of LCPUFA supplementation. Further research and development is required to determine a commercial source of LCPUFA which is safe, effective and economic. Further information is required on the short and long term effects of cholesterol intake during infancy, and in particular its relationship to LCPUFA metabolism. Long term studies should be initiated to determine the relationship of infant diet (especially saturated fatty acid and cholesterol intake) to the development of cardiovascular disease.