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Carlson, Susan E.; Schipper, Lidewij; Brenna, J. Thomas; Agostoni, Carlo; Calder, Philip C.; Forsyth, Stewart; Legrand, Philippe; Abrahamse-Berkeveld, Marieke; Heijning, Bert J. M. van de; Beek, Eline M. van der; Koletzko, Berthold V. and Muhlhausler, Beverly (2021): Perspective: Moving Toward Desirable Linoleic Acid Content in Infant Formula. In: Advances in Nutrition, Vol. 12, No. 6: pp. 2085-2098

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Infant formula should provide the appropriate nutrients and adequate energy to facilitate healthy infant growth and development. If conclusive data on quantitative nutrient requirements are not available, the composition of human milk (HM) can provide some initial guidance on the infant formula composition. This paper provides a narrative review of the current knowledge, unresolved questions, and future research needs in the area of HM fatty acid (FA) composition, with a particular focus on exploring appropriate intake levels of the essential FA linoleic acid (LA) in infant formula. The paper highlights a clear gap in clinical evidence as to the impact of LA levels in HM or formula on infant outcomes, such as growth, development, and long-term health. The available preclinical information suggests potential disadvantages of high LA intake in the early postnatal period. We recommend performing well-designed clinical intervention trials to create clarity on optimal levels of LA to achieve positive impacts on both short-term growth and development and long-term functional health outcomes.

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