Thursday, June 25, 2009

Juicy Juice Brain Formula

I'm watching the news on television and saw the commercial. Juicy Juice is now offering "Brain Development" juice. It contains DHA, docosahexaenoic acid, a compound found in breast milk and oftentimes touted as a critical building block in fetal and infant brains. It is basically fish-oil milk. DHA is taken in dietarily as linolenic acid and also is synthesized in the liver. It contributes to membrane development and in brain composition during late fetal development and in the first year of infancy.

Sounds great! How did we ever get by without Juicy Juice? As usual, the evidence is not conclusive. When the literature is analyzed you see studies with marginal effects for DHA and Arachadonic acid, another long-chain fatty acid, in children from breast-fed and formula-fed mothers. An additional multitude of studies show absolutely no effect, and these tend to be larger studies that are random and placebo controlled.

So I guess it doesn't hurt, but now Juicy Juice has opened the door for everyone else to now fortify their juice with DHA. Folate and anti-oxidants are old news, so some sexy new breast-milk compound is just what freaked-out parents need.

The fact is that Nestle and Juicy Juice are not thinking about the science or the children, it is about tweaking the parents out there into thinking their little crib lizard is in some deficient state if they don't get the juice. These studies are not new. If you scroll back in PubMed you can find reports of fish oil (omega-3 fatty acids) dating back into the 80's. This is nothing new and Juicy Juice is now on board. Watch for the whole wave of interest at this point.

It is another case where scientific maybes are promoted as sound established rules, and done so to market a product. I'm always skeptical when the advice to administer a pharmacologically active substance comes from a food company rather than pediatricians.

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