Synthetic DHA and ARA in Baby Formula is Causing Infant Illness
(NaturalNews) For years, baby formula manufacturers have been fortifying and reformulating their blends in an effort to poise their products as equal or superior to natural breast milk. Beginning in 2002, many producers began supplementing their mixtures with synthetic forms of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (ARA), the long-chain fatty acids naturally present in breast milk. Evidence is now showing that the synthetic versions are detrimental to the health of children, despite their continued usage in almost every available brand of infant formula.
The idea behind fortifying infant formula with DHA/ARA was substantiated based upon the fact that a mother’s breast milk naturally contains these polyunsaturated omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. They are vital components to human eye and brain development, particularly in the formative infant years. The primary distinction is that the form of DHA/ARA being used in infant formula is structurally incompatible with the form found in human milk.
Martek Biosciences Corporation, the company who produces synthetic DHA/ARA, extracts the oils from laboratory-grown fermented algae and fungus using hexane, a demonstrated neurotoxic chemical. Identified as a hazardous air pollutant by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), hexane resides in the same category as other serious toxins that are linked to causing cancer and other serious health problems.
Developed primarily as a marketing tool, Martek’s 1996 DHA/ARA investment promotional material states that even if the additive had no demonstrable benefit, it would nevertheless allow manufacturers to market their formulas as being the “closest to human milk”. Formula manufacturers quickly jumped on the bandwagon despite definitive evidence proving the additive’s safety.