(NaturalNews) Infant formula supplemented with omega-3 fatty acids may pose a serious health risk, according to a report released by the Cornucopia Institute and presented to health professionals and government officials at a meeting of the U.S. Breastfeeding Committee
"While infant formula manufacturers claim that these oils are perfectly safe and necessary for proper development, our report provides a more detailed picture," said lead author Charlotte Vallaeys. "We investigated how a toxic chemical is used as processing agents in the manufacturing process, the inadequate testing for safety, and most importantly, how some infants are experiencing serious adverse reactions from formula supplemented with these oils."
The report notes that infant formulas supplemented with the artificially synthesized oils DHASCO and ARASCO, produced by Martek Biosciences Corporation to contain DHA and ARA, respectively, have been linked to serious side effects such as nonstop diarrhea. In infants, this can be a life-threatening condition.
"When I worked in the hospital's neonatal ward, the nurses all called it 'the diarrhea formula'," said Sam Heather Doak of Marietta, Ohio. "We've seen infants, tiny little humans, with diarrhea that just wouldn't stop after being given this formula."
Unlike naturally occurring omega-3s, DHASCO and ARASCO are extracted from fermented algae and fungus with the use of a neurotoxic chemical called hexane. They are chemically distinct from natural omega-3s and include oils that have never before been a part of the human infant diet.
"It's true that DHA and ARA are important nutrients for developing infants - that's why they're found in human breast milk," said infant nutrition specialist Jimi Francis. "But we have also seen that some infants are experiencing side effects like diarrhea from consuming the manufactured DHA and ARA oils in formula."
According to the report, aggressive marketing appears to be convincing some mothers to use the formulas instead of breast feeding.
Breast feeding is widely accepted to be the healthiest way to feed a human infant.
The Cornucopia Institute and the National Alliance for Breastfeeding Advocacy have petitioned the FDA to place warning labels on omega-3-supplemented infant formulas, warning of the potential side effects.