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May 27, 2002

USA: Egg yolks seen as ideal foods for weaning babies – study

Recent research indicates that egg yolks had nutritional benefits for weaning babies that have been breastfed or fed with infant formula. In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and led by Maria Makrides, 137 mother-infant pairs in Australia were randomly assigned to receive regular eggs, eggs enriched by feeding hens a diet rich in n-3 fatty acids, or no dietary intervention (control group). Prior to the test, and six months later when the babies reach one year of age, blood samples were taken to measure docosahexanaenoic acid (DHA) in red blood cells, iron status an plasma cholesterol.

Recent research indicates that egg yolks had nutritional benefits for weaning babies that have been breastfed or fed with infant formula.

In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and led by Maria Makrides, 137 mother-infant pairs in Australia were randomly assigned to receive regular eggs, eggs enriched by feeding hens a diet rich in n-3 fatty acids, or no dietary intervention (control group). Prior to the test, and six months later when the babies reach one year of age, blood samples were taken to measure docosahexanaenoic acid (DHA) in red blood cells, iron status an plasma cholesterol.

DHA is a fatty acid essential for growth and brain development, and it is believed that formula-fed babies may be deficient in DHA. Meanwhile, breast milk is not a good source of iron, so iron-rich weaning foods are important to prevent iron deficiency.

In both breast-fed and formula-fed groups, infants who consumed n-3 fatty acid enriched egg yolks had 30-40% greater red cell membrane DHA levels than those fed regular egg yolks. There was no effect of n-3 fatty acid enriched egg yolks on plasma cholesterol, but plasma iron levels were increased.

To read the complete text of the article published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, click here.

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