DHA & ARA Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids

Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids

So-called essential fatty acids must be absorbed from food, as the body cannot produce them itself. These fatty acids include linolenic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid, and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid.

Linolenic acid and alpha-linolenic acid act as precursors for the synthesis of long-chain, polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCP) such as DHA. The body is able to produce DHA or ARA itself from these precursors. Infants are, however, not yet able to produce sufficient amounts.

What are LCP fatty acids?

LCP stands for “long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids”, that are, among other things, crucial for the development of babies’ brain and nerve cells as well as their eyesight. Since babies are unable to produce sufficient quantities of LCP in their first few months of life, our infant formulas contain added LCP. The omega-3 fatty acid DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and the omega-6 fatty acid ARA (arachidonic acid) belong to the LCP group. In addition to this and in accordance with the EU directive for infant milks, the addition of DHA has been required by law since February 2020.

What is DHA?

DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is a long-chain, polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acid that is also naturally contained in breast milk. DHA aids the development of eyesight. The positive effect is achieved if 100 mg DHA are consumed daily. DHA is formed by marine micro-algae and obtained either directly from algae or from fish that eat the algae.

What is ARA?

ARA, also known as AA, (arachidonic acid) is a long-chain, polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid that is also naturally contained in breast milk.

Overview of key fatty acids & occurrence: