UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Developmental Outcomes at 24 Months of Age in Toddlers Supplemented with Arachidonic Acid and Docosahexaenoic Acid: Results of a Double Blind Randomized, Controlled Trial Devlin, Angela M.; Chau, Cecil M. Y.; Dyer, Roger; Matheson, Julie; McCarthy, Deanna; Yurko-Mauro, Karin; Innis, Sheila M.; Grunau, Ruth E.


Little is known about arachidonic acid (ARA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) requirements in toddlers. A longitudinal, double blind, controlled trial in toddlers (n = 133) age 13.4 ± 0.9 months (mean ± standard deviation), randomized to receive a DHA (200 mg/day) and ARA (200 mg/day) supplement (supplement) or a corn oil supplement (control) until age 24 months determined effects on neurodevelopment. We found no effect of the supplement on the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development 3rd Edition (Bayley-III) cognitive and language composites and Beery–Buktenica Developmental Test of Visual–Motor Integration (Beery VMI) at age 24 months. Supplemented toddlers had higher RBC phosphatidylcholine (PC), phosphatidylethanolamine (PE), and plasma DHA and ARA compared to placebo toddlers at age 24 months. A positive relationship between RBC PE ARA and Bayley III Cognitive composite (4.55 (0.21–9.00), B (95% CI), p = 0.045) in supplemented boys, but not in control boys, was observed in models adjusted for baseline fatty acid, maternal non-verbal intelligence, and BMI z-score at age 24 months. A similar positive relationship between RBC PE ARA and Bayley III Language composite was observed for supplemented boys (11.52 (5.10–17.94), p < 0.001) and girls (11.19 (4.69–17.68), p = 0.001). These findings suggest that increasing the ARA status in toddlers is associated with better neurodevelopment at age 24 months.

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