Are DHA Supplements for Premature Babies Useful


DHA: On Further Thought Dr. Klaper

Video taken from the channel: VegSource


DHA and Baby Brain Development

Video taken from the channel:


Nutrition in Preterm Infants: Evidence and Practice

Video taken from the channel: Mead Johnson Nutrition Healthcare Professional


When to start DHA supplementation?

Video taken from the channel: Nestlé Nutrition Institute


DHA Needs During Pregnancy // Plant-Based + Vegan

Video taken from the channel: Plant-Based Juniors


DHA Needs For Children

Video taken from the channel: Plant-Based Juniors


Role of DHA, ARA and phospholipids in cognitive development of infants

Video taken from the channel: NNISouthAsia

Because of its association with respiratory health, doctors have wondered if giving DHA supplements to premature infants could help reduce their rates of bronchopulmonary dysplasia. One of the main medical complications that can occur with premature infants is respiratory problems, or lung problems, since preemie babies. High-dose DHA supplementation may help decrease neurodevelopmental delays in preterm children Given the increasing rate of babies delivered prior to term in this country (and globally), finding effective strategies for remediating the developmental consequences of being born too early are necessary.

Two different clinical trials—one in the US, the other in Australia—administered daily DHA supplements to moms-to-be with low-, moderateand high-risk pregnancies. Based on the decrease in deliveries at a higher risk for being preterm, researchers think a daily supplement could prevent more than 106,000 premature births. Why is DHA Important for Babies? During the first two years of life, your baby’s brain develops faster than it ever will.

In fact, the brain grows 175% in the first year. That’s why many experts believe it’s important for babies to receive DHA during this time of rapid brain development. Babies get DHA in the womb.

A supplement of 600 mg DHA/d in the last half of gestation resulted in overall greater gestation duration and infant size. A reduction in early preterm and very-low birth weight could be important clinical and public health outcomes of DHA supplementation. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials DHA supplementation. Once an infant is born, DHA is important for healthy vision, healthy cognition, and a healthy immune system. 3-5 Statistically, mothers with high DHA levels during pregnancy have longer pregnancies 6-8 and fewer preterm births (<34 weeks).

6,8,9 Babies born to these moms tend to have higher birthweigh. Omega-3 fats are essential fatty acids that play a central role in several aspects of your health. ALA, EPA, and DHA are the three main types available in foods and supplements.

Omega-3 benefits. DHA is commonly used for heart disease and high cholesterol. It is also used for boosting memory and thinking skills, for aiding infant and child development, for certain eye disorders, and many.

Premature infants babies born before 37 weeks have unique nutritional needs. Babies born early may have lower vitamin and mineral stores than babies born after a full-term pregnancy. Preterm infants may also have higher nutritional needs for not only calories, but also for vitamins and minerals for some time. Dietary and Infant Formula Sources for DHA The best dietary sources of DHA for pregnant and lactating women, as well as for infants and children, should be reviewed to promote optimal nutritional intake and improved neurodevelopmental outcomes in infants and children.

The best sources of DHA are fatty fish, eggs, and some meats.

List of related literature:

Clandinin et al. (1980) have shown that the accretion of DHA and ARA by the fetal brain during the last trimester of gestation is essential; therefore, infants born prematurely are at an increased risk of having a decreased level of these two fatty acids.

“Functional Food Product Development” by Jim Smith, Edward Charter
from Functional Food Product Development
by Jim Smith, Edward Charter
Wiley, 2011

Folate supplementation throughout pregnancy also helps prevent premature delivery of lowbirthweight infants and is recommended for premature infants and lactating mothers.

“Goldman's Cecil Medicine,Expert Consult Premium Edition Enhanced Online Features and Print, Single Volume,24: Goldman's Cecil Medicine” by Russell La Fayette Cecil, Lee Goldman, Andrew I. Schafer
from Goldman’s Cecil Medicine,Expert Consult Premium Edition Enhanced Online Features and Print, Single Volume,24: Goldman’s Cecil Medicine
by Russell La Fayette Cecil, Lee Goldman, Andrew I. Schafer
Elsevier/Saunders, 2012

Overall, these studies show that providing larger amounts of DHA supplements, especially to the smallest infants, is associated with better neurologic outcomes in early life [34].

“Textbook of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition: A Comprehensive Guide to Practice” by Stefano Guandalini, Anil Dhawan, David Branski
from Textbook of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition: A Comprehensive Guide to Practice
by Stefano Guandalini, Anil Dhawan, David Branski
Springer International Publishing, 2015

Formulas for premature infants include DHA.

“Becoming Vegan, Express Edition: The Everyday Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition” by Brenda Davis, RD, Vesanto Melina, MS, RD
from Becoming Vegan, Express Edition: The Everyday Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition
by Brenda Davis, RD, Vesanto Melina, MS, RD
Book Publishing Company, 2013

Premature infants fed formulas supplemented with ARA and DHA frequently demonstrate greater gain in weight and length and higher psychomotor development scores than premature infants not receiving the fatty acid supplementation (Lapillonne and Moltu, 2016).

“Krause and Mahan’s Food and the Nutrition Care Process E-Book” by Janice L Raymond, Kelly Morrow
from Krause and Mahan’s Food and the Nutrition Care Process E-Book
by Janice L Raymond, Kelly Morrow
Elsevier Health Sciences, 2020

That said, premature babies—and full-term babies—can still get a great start in life by consuming formulas fortified with omega-3s, especially in the form of EPA and DHA rather than ALA.

“Superfuel: Ketogenic Keys to Unlock the Secrets of Good Fats, Bad Fats, and Great Health” by Dr. James DiNicolantonio, Dr. Joseph Mercola
from Superfuel: Ketogenic Keys to Unlock the Secrets of Good Fats, Bad Fats, and Great Health
by Dr. James DiNicolantonio, Dr. Joseph Mercola
Hay House, 2018

One exception to this is a trial conducted by Goldenberg and colleagues in which they provided low-income, zinc-deficient pregnant women (n = 580) with either a zinc supplement (25mg/day) or a placebo from 19 weeks of gestation to delivery [91].

“Handbook of Nutrition and Pregnancy” by Carol J. Lammi-Keefe, E.A. Reese, Sarah C. Couch, Elliot Philipson
from Handbook of Nutrition and Pregnancy
by Carol J. Lammi-Keefe, E.A. Reese, et. al.
Humana Press, 2008

While use of some supplements is based on sound evidence of efficacy, e.g. folate in pregnancy to prevent neural tube defects, use of others is based on more dubious claims or misinformation (Satia-Abouta et al., 2003).

“Manual of Dietetic Practice” by Joan Gandy
from Manual of Dietetic Practice
by Joan Gandy
Wiley, 2019

Falcao S, Bisotto S, Gutkowska J, Lavoie JL: Hyperhomocysteinemia is not sufficient to cause preeclampsia in an animal model: The importance of folate intake.

“High Risk Pregnancy E-Book: Management Options Expert Consult” by David K. James, Philip J. Steer, Carl P. Weiner, Bernard Gonik
from High Risk Pregnancy E-Book: Management Options Expert Consult
by David K. James, Philip J. Steer, et. al.
Elsevier Health Sciences, 2010

Given DHA’s importance to babies, mothers-to-be should take supplements for the duration of their pregnancy.

“Dr. Atkins' Vita-nutrient Solution: Nature's Answers to Drugs” by Robert C. Atkins, M.D., Robert C. Atkins
from Dr. Atkins’ Vita-nutrient Solution: Nature’s Answers to Drugs
by Robert C. Atkins, M.D., Robert C. Atkins
Simon & Schuster, 1998

Oktay Kutluk

Kutluk Oktay, MD, FACOG is one of the world's foremost experts in fertility preservation as well as ovarian stimulation and in vitro fertilization for infertility treatments. He developed and performed the world's first ovarian transplantation procedures as well as pioneered new ovarian stimulation protocols for embryo and oocyte freezing for breast and endometrial cancer patients.

Mail: [email protected]
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  • Hi all, I heared that flax seeds should ideally be sprouted and then grinded…. anyone who can comment on this topic of sprouted vs non sprouted flax seeds? Is non sprouted beneficial enough?

  • Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an omega–3 fatty acid which is an essential fatty acid. Essential fatty acids cannot be synthesized in the body…Refer to

  • Well, there it isthe final word on DHA supplementation, in light of what is currently known, which is not much, or rather, not enough. Much thanks to Dr. Klaper, who continues to be a beacon of wisdom and ethics, and has tirelessly advocated the vegan lifestyle for 40 years

  • Love you Dr. Klaper. Thank. you for the advice. I never eat Flaxseed, hemp or Chia and will start immediately! I’d much prefer eating my vitamins than taking a pill.

  • a teaspoon of oil isn’t gonna put your body totally out of whack. Get real. You know how much oil americans eat everyday? So if you have an oil free diet and eat a teaspoon of algae omega 3 you aren’t gonna mess up anything

  • Well, changing your position as your knowledge changes is how science works, no need to apologize. Certainly a lot easier to do when you are not selling books, products, diet plans…

  • I’d love to see more research in this issue but there’s little profit in any product so it’s not likely there will be. This is where the gov testing should come in. Thanks for the video and honesty.

  • I often read comments about “bad conversion” of ALA into DHA and EPA, Beta-carotene into Retinol, K1 into K2 and so on. What are the science behind it and how should we who question the necessity of supplements answer to such claims (it goes also for bad methylation, etc.). thank you.

  • The main reason why 2 tbsp of grounded flax seeds might not be “enough” to allow our body to convert ALA to DHA EPA is because they contain arsenic + some anti nutrients, and so they have to be sprouted (as the ancients always did with seeds) before to be ingested by humans. Anti-oxydants from tea and grapes should also be added to the mix

    In France we have a Doctor in nutrition offering this mix ready to use, it’s called: nutreine Philobio.

    I do not know if you can find something similar in the US or UK

  • When it comes to supplements in general, I think it’s best to err on the side of caution. B12, and vitamin D, ( intermittently ) are my only exceptions.

  • I heard flax seeds is interfering with mal testosterone! Can you please talk about that……reason that flaxseeds are on the hit-list for raising testosterone is because they are rich in lignans, which tend to mimic estrogen in the body. Since estrogen is the opposing sex hormone to testosterone, the more of it you have (particularly if you are a man), the more low testosterone-like symptoms you’ll have.

  • Current research even with high dose DHA has not reported any serious adverse effects in children..Learn more from

  • I really appreciate your respectful, thoughtful presentation of the facts! So refreshing after all the negative bashing that’s been going on. We each have to make our own informed decisions on diet and supplementation.

  • According to cronometer, cauliflower has 84% daily req. of omega 3 and just 17% of fat. It’s also rich in vitamins and protein compared to flax seed.

  • Great video. I’m going stick to my low fat vegan diet. It works for me. I only have to see the doctor once a year now. I still eat peanut butter.����

  • Wouldn’t you just take an omega 3 index test before considering supplementation? Can do these yourself no need to go to the doctor. I actually wrote this before he mentioned it but stands to reason.

  • What about the cyanide in flax seeds? Can that be a hazard if you overdo it? Dr Greger limits his personal use to about a tablespoon of ground flax seed per day.

  • sounds like a walnut, chia, hemp, or flax seed company would be inclined to fund the study mentioned (for insight into whether those eating a healthy, whole-food, plant-based diet rich in ALA would benefit from DHA supplementation or not)

  • I do not agree with Dr. Fuhrman on DHA supplementation. I do however agree with Dr. Brooke Goldner on this issue take out the competing omega 6s (nuts) from the equation and eat plenty of raw greens & flax seeds and let your body look after the rest. In this same vein, I agree with Dr. T. Colin Campbell in that “whole” plant foods provide the human body with everything it needs for optimum health. Thank you Dr. Klaper for weighing in on this important issue.

  • There’s a simple answer to all this speculation. Instead of trying to outsmart nature by going vegan, you could eat the omnivorous diet that every single society in human history has eaten, and get your DHA naturally, with all the natural synergies intact. Have you people considered that there is a reason that no group of people in human history has fully abstained from animal foods? Pescatarians live longer than vegans for a reason (natural DHA, higher B12 and lower homocysteine, lower AGE concentration in bloodstream from carnosine, among other reasons), and health-minded omnivores who eat a lot of fiber and antioxidants have similar or better health outcomes than vegans.

    As for the ethical questions, I don’t like factory farming and I don’t buy factory-farmed products. I didn’t put this industrial system into place, and I didn’t take over all habitable land on the planet like governments have done. I wish animal foods could be gotten in a better way, but it’s not my fault or any individual omnivore’s that things are the way they are.

  • Thank you so much. ��.
    Can I ask a favour? Nobody seems to give out any information regarding the vegan diet for young children and teenagers. It drives me crazy.

  • Thank you doctor. This video was very important to me. I eat plant based, and I’m very worried about the omega 3 situation. Thank you very much!!!!

  • all these what ifs and maybes when all u have to do is eat some fish periodically. imagine how simple life is if you dont suffer from vegan illness

  • I am aware that omega 6 rich oils impair ALA to EPA & DHA conversion, but what about whole, raw nuts that are also high in omega 6?

  • Eat sardines three times a week…. Phosphotydal choline “aut di ass”… �� Omega 3, b12.. and a ton of other stuff…. Fish is why we grew big brains in the first place!

  • Of all the doctors promoting a plant based diet, I find Dr. Klaper to be the most reasonable, least arrogant, most knowledgeable, and most convincing of them all. I hope he has a long life ahead of him to continue his good work.

  • Dr. Klapper, I have great respect for your ability to admit the lack of hard evidence backed by reasons to temper the recommendations based on the risks. Thank you for all of your thought on this matter. You make helpful sense. Also, what a wonderful friend you are to maintain a relationship with Dr. Fuhrman who you acknowledge his great contributions but agree to disagree on this topic

  • What about the people that say that DHA oils and other Omega oils are toxic and that we don’t need them at all? Look into Matt Blackburn. PUFA’s and HUFA’s cause tons and tons of oxidative stress and lipofuscin and inhibit cellular respiration.

  • I find it more difficult due to the high level of ‘l arginine’ in seeds and nuts of which promotes the cold sores that I suffer from. Think I will just stop taking a algae supplement daily, and take it down to just a few times a week.

  • Is Dr. Fuhrman not the one who falsified data about weightloss in his patients? I’ve read an article by. T. Colin Campbell, where Dr. Campell distanced himself from partaking into this deception?

  • I saw Dr. Klaper and his wife at a vegan restaurant once in Tacoma, WA. I said hi to him and he shook my hand and was very welcoming. Very glad i met him in person. Very positive energy surrounding him and i could tell he and his wife have a great relationship…. had to come back and edit this in: I also noticed he ordered the healthiest thing on the menu. haha. It was a salad. If i saw him before i ordered my food i probably wouldn’t have gotten a pizza with brownies as an appetizer… lol

  • Very classy. This is the way to go when you disagree with someone. He didn’t bash Dr Furhman, but just respectfully disagreed and showed his facts. I’m a true believer in the Furhman Nutritarian Diet, but stopped taking the DHA supplement in July.

  • Do fishing communities who consumes a lot of fish have a higher rate of benefits or problems from their diet. They have already done the experiment. What are the results?

  • Dr. Klaper, Thank you once again for being an amazing source of inspiration. You are a true educator with a heart of gold and I love you dearly.
    It is indeed refreshing to hear a professional admit they don’t have all the answers.
    We shall all keep learning.

  • Chapeau! Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I do agree with your trail of thoughts and your ability to tell people that you are unsure and that you changed your opinion

    also thank you for reading the upcoming literature about the topic and share your thoughts about it, so I don’t have to do it myself

    I have to say that I prefer a doubtful person more than a person who think’s they are right without proof….

    especialy when they sell you the supplements they recomend to take

  • Well shoot. Because of the whole “the fat you eat is the fat you wear” thing, I stopped sneaking flax into my diet a couple years ago. I wonder if my brain is doomed now.

  • Not scientific but my intuition said at the beginning of the awareness of omega 3 actions in veganism: don’t bother with DHA, just eat the ALA like he says here. So hopefully that will have done / continue to do the trick!

  • I love your honesty and intellect. I became a Vegan with no oil and very very little salt. I take no supplements and have never felt more energetic and healthy.

  • Jeff On a previous video (now taken down?) you provided a link to a blinded, randomised controlled trial that showed increased brain volume and improved cognitive scores with DHA supplementation in older people with mild cognitive impairment. What is your position on this?

  • Dr. Fuhrman SELLS supplements so that shows his bias. I am grateful to Dr. Klaper for reviewing the research and risks and putting them into understandable language for all of us. I just also looked up ALA in your diet and it’s in tomatoes, spinach, broccoli and brussel sprouts so I’m sure most of us are getting a lot of it in our diets. I plan on following Dr. Klaper’s advise for the new year.

  • Thanks for this clarification. When I saw your previous talk, where you appeared to be hawking dietary supplement pills, I was really taken aback. Was the mortgage due? I didn’t know what to make of that. The unregulated multi-billion-dollar dietary supplements industry doesn’t need your help. That strange endorsement seemed totally out of character. Welcome back.

  • First off, I appreciate Dr. Klaper for all he does! I have been following this debate and find that it is not just Dr. Fuhrman who thinks differently than Dr. Klaper. There is Dr. Greger. Recently I was at a conference where Dr. Greger spoke and he stated that he believed Dr. Klaper is now recommending the algae supplement again after Dr. Greger shared some nutrition studies with him. From this video, it appears that is not so. Dr. Joel Kahn appears to be in favor of this supplement and in his discussion he brought up Team Sherzai and said they still personally take this supplement. Team Sherzai has told me they plan to have a discussion of this topic in the near future. I do not know if it is true or not that they still take the supplement. Then there is Dr. Danielle Bellardo who shared her support of this supplement along with Kevin Klatt, RD and stated one needs no fear toward this supplement, especially for prostate cancer, which I believe is how this discussion got started…. So there appears to be a lack of consensus on this issue among our esteemed plant-based docs.

  • Thank you Dr. Klaper. As always, sound and measured. Considering the science before making the recommendation. That is practicing medicine. I wish all doctors were like Dr. Klaper.

  • Out of curiosity, wouldn’t a simple blood test give you the best of both worlds? If the study states that men with a high level of DHA in there blood is a bad thing… and the idea of dementia is that a low level of DHA in the blood is a bad thing… then I assume the answer is making sure you have the right amount of DHA in the blood for you and that should answer the question of whether you should supplement and supplement safely.

  • Thank you so much for sharing this, I was soo confused and needed a different approach to understand better what to do about it. Thank you Dr Klaper again! ✨

  • So glad to hear this…I was sure taking it everyday was creating a Cascade reaction in my body, I could feel it. I know, not science but I could feel an issue and I think I did get a back up of fatty acids.

  • In case anyone’s interested… My breakfast: 2 tbsp flax seeds, 1 tsp chia seeds, 1 tsp hemp seeds, 2 tsp soy milk powder, 1 tsp dark chocolate powder, 1 cup dry quick oats, 10 almonds, 1.5 walnuts, half Brazil nut all crushed, 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds, 4 tsp honey, add 6 oz macha green tea. Enjoy!

  • Interesting that Dean and Ayesha Sherzai also recommend a DHA/EPA supplement, they cite some good studies to support that and they are neurologists. I don’t think Dr Fuhrman has an agenda or bad intent to recommending EPA/DHA supplement… i just think the science is just not super clear on this as Dr Klaper notes. Dr Fuhrman doesn’t think it is a magic pill he is just concerned about getting nutritionally adequate amounts. Good arguments on both sides. i do wish Dr Klaper would show cite his sources… i.e. that it increase permeability, for example.

  • Thank you so much, really appreciate your sharing! After decades of vegan living I had a major stroke at age 40 and suspect my lack of omega’s may have contributed. Am now 55 still plant based, an ongoing journey and very interesting to observe all us older longtime plantbased people’s health!

  • Any information on how to properly feed children vegan? I’ve got a little one who’s basically been vegetarian from the womb (I craved doritos and I couldn’t fine a vegan alternative at the time) any supplements needed. I typically would buy baby cereals for my first two children to ensure no deficiencies as recommended by doctors… What are the recommendations now for vegans and their youngings?

  • I adore Dr. Klaper and have for eons. He looks great too.:o) I’ve got to get over my addiction to fats. I’m getting excessive omega 6’s again lately due to too much nut/seed butter, olive oil, etc. Regarding booze……uh oh. LOL

  • The way this was presented is so much better than Jeff Nelsons attack on Joel Fuhrman.

    You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.

    Chapeau Dr Klapper Chapeau.

  • They are also called polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA)…. Visit

  • We haven’t heard much about the possible downsides of DHA supplementation. Good that Dr. Klaper is bringing this to our attention. Probably should take it as a case by case basis and tailor DHA intake accordingly. The vast majority of people probably don’t need it.

  • What an inspiration, this man is already 72 and still practices medicine, and informs the public with his powerful critical thinking skills.

  • I want you as my doctor, please. Thank you for humility, honesty and caring. You are wonderful. I’ll continue to eat flax and hemp and lots and lots of greens. Thank you.

  • 18Carbon AOA to 20Carbon EPA to 22Carbon DHA……Complex and Subtle anatomical System Whole, indeed! Doc Klaper, thank you for your Open Mind, Honesty and Integrity. Dr. Fuhrman must acknowledge and accept your apology publicly now. You are a Human Doc, All Too Human, but you continue on the Science Journey. Thank you so much! Much appreciated!

  • -DHA is most volatile of all the oils and is the most dangerous. You don’t need DHA or omega oils.

    -Sardines have omega-3s, but they have other antioxidants in them like Vitamin E and selenium that are beneficial.

    -Omegas make people age and get cancer. Can’t get cancer without lipofuscin. When we die, lipofuscin emits a blue light.

    -Age spots – are they from the liver? Yes, but doctors will deny it.

    -Patrick had 3 age spots. Took milk thistle 3x/day for 6 weeks plus a tincture. Now they’re barely visible.

    -What causes the spots? The lipofuscin will attack all organs.

    -What to do if you have age spots? Stop taking DHA, EPA, ALA.

    -Eat warm water fish, not cold water fish. Eat them at night with eggs. We’re made of sperm and ovum, and sperm is like a fish and ovum like an egg. Warm water fish are walleye pike, large mouth bass, small mouth bass, black crappie, blue gill, and channel catfish (as long as it doesn’t eat algae).