Growth and fatty acid profiles of VLBW infants receiving a multicomponent lipid emulsion from birth

J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2014 Apr;58(4):417-27. doi: 10.1097/MPG.0000000000000280.


Objectives: Very-low-birth-weight (VLBW) infants are dependent on parenteral nutrition after birth. A parenteral lipid emulsion with a multicomponent composition may improve growth and neurodevelopment and may prevent liver injury, which is often observed in association with long-term parenteral nutrition with pure soybean oil. Our aim was to evaluate the safety and efficacy of a multicomponent lipid emulsion containing 30% soybean oil, 30% medium-chain triacylglycerol, 25% olive oil, and 15% fish oil compared with a conventional pure soybean oil emulsion in VLBW infants.

Methods: We conducted a double-blind randomized controlled trial in VLBW infants randomized to parenteral nutrition with the multicomponent (study group) or pure soybean oil emulsion (control group) from birth at a dose of 2 to 3 g · kg(-1) · day(-1) until the infants were receiving full enteral nutrition. We assessed efficacy by growth rates and measuring plasma fatty acid profiles (representative subset). Safety was evaluated by assessing hematologic and biochemical parameters, potentially harmful phytosterol concentrations (same subset), and clinical neonatal outcome parameters.

Results: Ninety-six infants were included (subsets n = 21). The multicomponent emulsion was associated with higher weight and head circumference z scores during admission. Plasma eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid concentrations were higher in the study group. The hematological, biochemical, and neonatal outcomes were not different between groups, whereas the plasma concentrations of phytosterols were higher in the control group.

Conclusions: The multicomponent lipid emulsion was well tolerated and associated with improved growth and higher plasma fatty acid profiles in VLBW infants in comparison with the pure soybean oil emulsion.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Body Weight
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / blood
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid / blood
  • Fat Emulsions, Intravenous / adverse effects
  • Fat Emulsions, Intravenous / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Fish Oils / therapeutic use
  • Head / anatomy & histology
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Very Low Birth Weight / blood*
  • Infant, Very Low Birth Weight / growth & development*
  • Male
  • Olive Oil
  • Organ Size
  • Parenteral Nutrition / methods
  • Phytosterols / blood
  • Plant Oils / therapeutic use
  • Soybean Oil / adverse effects
  • Soybean Oil / therapeutic use*
  • Triglycerides / therapeutic use


  • Fat Emulsions, Intravenous
  • Fish Oils
  • Olive Oil
  • Phytosterols
  • Plant Oils
  • Triglycerides
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids
  • Soybean Oil
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid