Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) supplementation of orange juice increases plasma phospholipid DHA content of children

item Hawthorne, Keli
item Abrams, Steven
item Heird, William

Submitted to: Journal Of The American Dietetic Association
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/18/2008
Publication Date: 4/2/2008
Citation: Hawthorne, K.M., Abrams, S.A., Heird, W.C. 2009. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) supplementation of orange juice increases plasma phospholipid DHA content of children. Journal Of The American Dietetic Association. 109(4):708-712.

Interpretive Summary: Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an omega-3 fatty acid that is the most abundant fatty acid in the brain and retina. Emerging data suggest that there are potential benefits of DHA supplementation throughout the entire life cycle, including childhood and adolescence. In the controlled study, 32 healthy children four to 12 years of age were randomized to receive six ounces of orange juice supplemented with either 50 mg or 100 mg of DHA once daily for six weeks. After six weeks, DHA levels increased 46% in the group supplemented with 50 mg DHA per day and 54% in the group supplemented with 100 mg DHA per day. Orange juice supplemented with DHA significantly increased blood DHA levels in healthy children and thereby were able to obtain increased benefits associated with DHA.

Technical Abstract: The major dietary source of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is fish, which is not widely consumed by children. There is concern, therefore, that children may not receive adequate DHA and so might benefit from dietary supplementation. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effects of providing a supplement of microencapsulated algal DHA in juice. We assessed the effects of two levels of DHA supplementation on the plasma phospholipid DHA content of healthy 4- to 6-year-old and 7- to 12-year-old children who were randomly assigned to consume 180 mL juice containing either 50 mg (lower dose) or 100 mg (higher dose) DHA daily for 6 weeks. Plasma phospholipid DHA content (mole % of total fatty acids) was measured before and after 6 weeks of daily juice consumption. Because there are no data for plasma phospholipid DHA content in healthy children, data were compared to that of breastfed infants. At baseline, plasma phospholipid DHA content was lower in both age groups and dose groups than observed in breastfed infants. It increased significantly in both dose groups, but more so in the higher dose group of both age groups (P<0.05, overall mean +/- standard deviation: 3.72 +/- 0.66 vs 4.64 +/- 0.77); reaching levels similar to or greater than content of breastfed infants. Thus, DHA supplementation of juice at either 50 mg/day or 100 mg/day for 6 weeks was effective in increasing plasma phospholipid DHA contents of children.

Last Modified: 06/23/2017
Footer Content Back to Top of Page