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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BHNRC) » Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center » Nutrient Data Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #222630

Title: Vitamin D and Select Fatty Acids in U.S. Infant Formulas

item Pehrsson, Pamela
item Lemar, Linda
item Patterson, Kristine
item Exler, Jacob

Submitted to: Experimental Biology
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/18/2008
Publication Date: 4/22/2009
Citation: Pehrsson, P.R., Lemar, L.E., Patterson, K.K., Exler, J. 2009. Vitamin D and select fatty acids in U.S. infant formulas. Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Conference, April 18-22, 2009, New Orleans, Louisiana.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Vitamin D, a nutrient critical to normal calcium absorption and bone health, plays a significant role in preventing rickets in infants and very young children. The 1980 Infant Formula Act and subsequent legislation mandated fortification of all infant formulas with at least 40 IU but not more than 100 IU/100 kilocalories; manufacturers are required to assure these levels. Many manufacturers have also voluntarily fortified formulas with two fatty acids found in breast milk, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (ARA). Some studies suggest these nutrients may play a role in visual and mental development of infants. USDA has analyzed selected samples of infant formula from 12 locations nationwide to provide the first analytical USDA-generated dataset for these nutrients. Vitamin D, fatty acids, proximates, minerals, and some vitamins were analyzed in 13 highly consumed infant formulas, including ready-to-feed or reconstituted milk-based and soy-based types; the formulas were analyzed unheated and heated to determine vitamin D retention. Samples were analyzed for vitamin D by HPLC with ultraviolet detection, using vitamin D2 as the internal standard; fatty acids were analyzed by gas chromatography. These values were compared to standard values reported by the industry and currently included in SR. Analytical values for vitamin D, DHA, and ARA (means ± SEM) were reviewed for release in SR22 (2009) and compared with existing industry-provided data. Preliminary review shows Vitamin D values are variable and meet or exceed label claims. For non-breastfed infants, infant formulas are consumed during a relatively short but critical growth period; for at least part of this time, the formula is usually the sole source of nutrition and thus verifying that Vitamin D and long-chain fatty acids are present at or above levels indicated on the label is important for monitoring infant formula. This is the first USDA-generated analytical dataset for infant formulas produced in the U.S. Funding in part from USDA and NIH Contract # YICN5010.