This article results from an International Life Sciences Institute workshop on early nutritional determinants of health and development. The presentation on lipids focused mainly on the longer-chain products of the essential fatty acids, particularly docosahexaenoic acid (22:6n-3), and cognitive development as among the most studied lipids and outcomes, respectively, in early human nutrition.

Because there have been several recent reviews on this topic, the present review takes a broader perspective with respect to both early development and lipids: an expanded research agenda is plausible on the basis of observations from some human studies and from animal studies.

Other lipids known to be provided in variable amounts to infants through human milk are cholesterol and gangliosides. Short sections address the current state of knowledge and some questions that could be pursued.

PMID: 19321568

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