The China´s Milk Scandal

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After the outburst of 2008 China's Milk Scandal, when local milk powder tainted with melamine caused the death of 6 babies1, parents in Hong Kong and China lost confidence in domestic infant formula products. Many of them turned to foreign brands and are much more concerned about additives used in infant formulae2.

This article discusses DHA, a common additive used in imported infant formula products. Manufacturers claim that DHA could improve infants’ mental development and enhance their intelligence. Does DHA really make our babies smarter?

About DHA

DHA stands for docosahexaenoic acid, a type of omega-3 fatty acid3. DHA is a major component of the retina and human brain. It is naturally found in fish oil, algae, fungi and breast milk. Many scientific studies have demonstrated that DHA could lower risk of cardiovascular diseases and Alzheimer’s disease4.

Is DHA necessary for babies?

Peng Xiaofang and Cheung Hon-Yeung from the City University of Hong Kong worked together studying functions of DHA in biological membranes. It was reported that DHA is a structural component of membranes of important neural structures4. And within the first 18 months after birth, infants have rapid growth in brain size, resulting in an approximately 30-fold increase in total DHA content accumulated in brains. 4 Therefore infants require sufficient DHA for brain growth during this period.

Several authorities recommended daily intake levels of DHA. For instance, the World
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