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DHA/ARA-Enhanced Baby Formula Shown to be Toxic, Still on the Market

Elizabeth Renter
July 3rd, 2012
Updated 11/02/2012 at 4:44 pm
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babyformulablackbackground 235x147 DHA/ARA Enhanced Baby Formula Shown to be Toxic, Still on the Market

The best interests of humanity were long ago abandoned by corporate giants in favor of the almighty dollar. But would companies really make false promises and put babies on the line to boost their bottom line? Well, yes, they would. Baby formula manufacturers first started putting synthetic fatty acids called DHA and ARA in formula about a decade ago. Despite complaints over the years and questionable marketing practices by the companies, these DHA/ARA-enhanced formulas remain on the market today.

DHA/ARA-Enhanced Baby Formula

DHA and ARA are long-chain fatty acids that are naturally present in human breast milk. However, the DHA and ARA in baby formula is synthetic - not natural. Instead, they are produced by a company called Martek Biosciences Corp. They are made in a lab with algae and fungus, and then extracted with hexane, a neurotoxin.

Since the DHA/ARA formulas began showing up on shelves, the FDA has been flooded with complaints from consumers. Letter after letter found parents dealing with sick and unhappy babies – babies who did a complete 180-degree turnaround when taken off the formula.

Initially, according to this AlterNet report, the FDA alerted Martek that they would be convening a group of scientists to look into concerns about the synthetic DHA and ARA. But Martek responded, telling the FDA that such research would “not be productive.” For whatever reason, the FDA agreed and didn’t look any further at the formula additive.

Many formulas have used these synthetic substances and have been called out for calling their products “The Breast Milk Formula,” and suggesting theirs was even better than the breast.

Prior to the additives being placed in bottles, Martek marketed them to companies saying:

Even if [the DHA/ARA blend] has no benefit, we think it would be widely incorporated into formulas as a marketing tool and to allow companies to promote their formula as “closest to human milk.”

And there it is– the recognition that a substance may or may not be useful, the seeming disregard of any potential risks, all for the admitted marketing tool and the money that it would bring in.

This detailed report from shows that upset tummies and fussy attitudes might not be the only negative mark of DHA/ARA infused formula. They reveal that in Martek’s own studies, lab rats showed a “significant increase in relative liver weights.” And this is from the manufacturer’s studies. Imagine what an impartial study might find.

From around the web:

  • Andrew Bruce

    The term toxic identifies in several baby products and it directly affects a baby's health. Previously FDA puts a ban on different types of baby products and it helps to keep away various baby products from our list. But still we have noticed various baby products prevailing in the market still consists of some toxic value.

  • Stephanie

    What about the so called organic milk- not formula- that is enhanced with DHA… are all the DHA/ARA enhanced products made like this?… I'm assuming the answer is 'yes'…

  • @En_Ulv_i_Skogen

    Probably this crap we're pumping (especially into my son in Hungary at the moment before we thankfully go back to the UK or Austria very soon) contains this with a high degree of chance, Nestle, Danone and all other companies in-between are just out for profit over general infant health, and these fu@king Hospitals are playing along with infant mortality to especially those women who cannot produce Breast Milk on a regular basis (which seems to be a cardinal sin in Public Hospital, particularly in Hungary and the old Eastern-Bloc countries, with still the state sanctioned bull that is espoused), I would class this as professional sanctioned infanticide in the hands of these well known companies, stop buying their produce and see how quickly they change their tune when their revenues drop drastically and their shareholders throw hissy fits because they can't afford their new Ferrari or Aston Martins.

  • ivelinaborislavova

    Every formula is toxic.Breast milk is the only food for newborn babies. Don't be fooled .Do your research.

  • Howard T. Lewis III

    Have baby wash the stuff down with diet soda while watching the CFRtv so he will know how to vote.