Monday, February 11, 2008

DHA/ARA oils in infant formula reactions/ sensitivities


Many parents may see DHA and ARA on labels for infant formula and immediately think this is the best choice for their child.
The National Alliance for Breastfeeding Advocacy (NABA) contributed to a report written by The Cornucopia Institute on the novel oils DHA and ARA in infant formula. These oils appear to be marketing tools to tell mothers that formula is now "as close as ever to breast milk." These lab-produced, hexane-extracted algal and fungal oils have been linked to diarrhea, vomiting and other adverse reactions in some infants, but the formula companies are not sharing the possibility of side effects with parents. Some infants have suffered through months of diarrhea because their parents did not know that a simple switch to non-DHA/ARA formula would, in many cases, relieve symptoms within a day.

Below is a link to the full report.

A quick scan of the highlighted quotes and photo captions will give you a sense of the report's contents although I do encourage you to take the time to read it in its entirety. The report is available for free download at http://cornucopia.org/index.php/replacing-mother-infant-formula-report/

Reference: This is an excerpt from a message from
Marsha Walker, RN, IBCLC
she would like your help in finding infants and their parents, and inviting them to share their stories. If you know anyone who has been impacted, please ask them to email their story, in confidence, to The Cornucopia Institute, at cultivate@cornucopia.org.

11 comments:

Shamana Flora said...

well i know next to nothing about formula, but if babies arent being breast-fed they do need Essential fatty acids like DHA which are abundant in breast milk of well nourished mothers.

what do you reccomend instead of formula with it? plain cod liver oil in small amounts?? I think it is Sally Fallon that has two formula recipies, one is a meat broth base and the other is a milk base, but both have cod liver oil as a part of the mix precisely for the Essential fatty acids necesary for brain development in little ones.

Is it possible a baby could be reacting to the formula BASE in an allergenic way?? ( soy and dairy are both highly allergenic, and are very common formula bases.)

I'm curious! Not upset. I'm doing my research paper for school on pregnancy and lactation nutrition, so I'd really like to have more info on this.

Hope all is well in your world sweetie! Miss ya!

Angie Goodloe LMT, Herbalist said...

I don't mean to be alarmist, this is just something to consider. Did you get a chance to read the full report? the problem is the way the DHA is being extracted, the resulting single cell oil is different from the DHA found in breast milk & they use a toxic chemical to extract it- the result is actually called DHASCO and ARASCO it is "novel" meaning genetically engineered (at least this is the finding according to the reports)& some babies are reacting to this. the Organic consumers organization writes about it here http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_9905.cfm "This report presents a disturbing look at the addition of novel ingredients into infant formula," says Marsha Walker, Executive Director of the National Alliance for Breastfeeding Advocacy. Yes, it is possible there could be reactions to base like soy and dairy, but these reports were from moms that switched to a DHA free formula. The recipe you mentioned sounds good:) nice to hear from you

Angie Goodloe LMT, Herbalist said...

I meant to say they switched to a DHA free formula and the symptoms stopped~ Also the marketing of "just as good as breast milk" is misleading, if you read the reports WIC is saying it is having a hard time inspiring mothers to breast feed since this new formula came out with the heavy marketing campaign.Of course the best way for the to receive these nutrients is to breast feed. Of course there are circumstances where this is not possible, but parents should be correctly informed.

Anonymous said...

Hi Can you please tell me where I can find DHA free formual. My baby is fed both formual and breastmilk so if I give her the formula without DHA I think it will be fine. I am actually looking for an organic one without DHA! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

The brand "Baby's Only" is the only Organic formular I have found that does NOT contain DHA/ARA. They have three different kinds: dairy, soy, and lactose free and are made with brown rice syrup. Hope this helps!

Anonymous said...

I work for WIC as a nutritionist, but of course we push breastfeeding....I am having the HARDEST time getting these moms to understand that infant formula is NOT like breast milk at all....We have ordered some pamphlets from places like Noodle SOup that highlights the differences in formula and breastmilk AND they even have newsletters on the latest warnings about the DHA/ARA! The come out of the hospital INSISTING they get formula with the DHA/ARA, and because our state bids with the evil Nestle providing the Good Start formulas, the renewed contract took off the non DHA/ARA formulas! So they even managed to get the whole state to agree that this DHA/ARA-free formula was substandard and passe....They even had us telling people it would be off the market by December 07, and here we are in JUNE and its still on the shelves!!! What a croc! The moms who had their kids on non-DHA/ARA formulas were horrified to see their kids getting sick from the switch because our State's WIC hd stopped in Dec 07! Now we see more and more kids being switched to hypoallergenic formulas and soy back and forth until they have gone through 5 or more formulas before they are 6 months old...so I use the unsurity (if thats a word) of formula tolerance to as a benefit of breastfeeding or at least trying!

So we here at WIC who DO believe in exclusive BF also feel your pain! We too are in the trenhes so to speak to reverse this curse of the formula manufacterers convincing moms that "30 years of technology is superior to Millions of years of nature's evolution." (Christiane Northrup MD).....

...Concerned WIC Nutritionist/BF counselor in the deep south....

Anonymous said...

I have been doing some research online and have found Baby's Only to be the only organic formula without ARA and DHA. Problem is that they label it as a toddler formula. Not sure if its ok to give babies under 12 months? Anyone has any idea?

Anonymous said...

The ingredients in baby's only are comparable to all other formulas out there (minus DHA) and meet recommended amounts for each component. They only label it as a toddler formula to encourage breast-feeding for the 1st 12 months of life.

Regarding DHA reactions - I'm hoping to get some comments on what may be going on with my son (will also be checking with pediatrician tomorrow) I recently read the report about DHA/ARA from plant source involving a potentially harmful extraction process - As a biochemist, all I want to do is protect my son from the toxic chemicals used with hexane extractions that are apparently now added to most commercial formulas - For this reason, I recently switched from Earth's Best Milk-based w/ DHA (even though he did very well on this) to Baby's Only - no DHA. As a side note, I also breast feed 50% of the time (only due to low supply now that my son is 8 months). I've had him on baby's only for a week now - it started out very well and he seemed to take it with no problem. A few days ago, I started adding DHA supplement sold by the same manufacturer as baby's only(nature's one). Their DHA supplement is animal based, and not extracted with hexane. Last night he started with diarrhea (2x) and has gone again about 5 or 6 times today. I really am concerned it's 'too' much DHA, maybe because I'm nursing too? And he's getting enough from breast milk? Today I stopped the supplement, hoping that's all it is. The only other thing that's very different in baby's only compared to earth's best formula is that earth's best has lactose as the only carb source, while baby's only has 60% lactose, 40% rice syrup. It's my impression that rice syrup should be gentle on babies tummies - and rice is actually used to treat diarrhea?? I'll be taking him to his pediatrician tomorrow if the issue continues and may even switch back to earth's best if I have to, knowing that didn't cause him any problems though it has the plant-based DHA =( - Suzie from San Diego

mom_to_baby_beegee said...

I give my son a non-DHA based formula and a DHA supplement. The supplement is called DHA junior and it is made by Nordic Naturals. You can break the pea sized capsules and squirt it in a child's mouth or if they are old enough to chew they can chew the capsules. They are made from fish oils without heavy metals and are flavoured with strawberry essence.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting article. I have a five month old daughter who I have primarily breast fed. I view formula only as a back-up if I don't have enough breast milk to send her to daycare with. This hasn't been a problem until this week, as I have been able to keep up with her demand (albeit, barely at times). However, I am wondering if (more like thinking that) I may need to be careful and select only a formula which does not contain DHA / ARA due to my severe reaction to it when I first went on prenatal vitamins. It appears that I am allergic to it, or at least have a very high intolerance, as it caused me to miss nearly a week of work early in my pregnancy. After switching to a prenatal vitamin that did not contain the fatty acids, I was fine. Thus, although I am still on prenatal vitamins since I am breast feeding I do not get these acids and my daughter seems fine. Getting back to my daughter and the back-up formula, I needed to use the backup today and it did not work out. I had to get her from daycare just so she could eat. In the back of my mind, I am thinking that there is a possibility that the sample with DHA / ADA either doesn't agree with her or tastes so very different from my breast milk that she just doesn't want anything to do with it. I called my pediatrician today, but did not think of this aspect until after the office closed. Guess I'll be calling back tomorrow to see if he can recommend something, just in case.

Angie Goodloe LMT, Herbalist said...

Hi anonymous, I would love to hear how everything works out for you.