Introduction by SafBaby Founders Sandra Blum and Samantha Fox Olson

We received this comment regarding DHA in formula from a concerned mama and asked our Health Advisor Dr. Murray Clarke to respond below.

“My daughter was one of those babies that had a serious issue with DHA in formula. She projectile vomited several times a day for the first 6 months of her life. I tried every single formula on the shelf and nothing seemed to make it any better. Her doctor told me that her formula had to have DHA in it and made it sound like she would die if it didn’t. So I never tried any formulas that didn’t have DHA. I finally ended up making my own formula for her that was completely rice based, using rice protein, and organic. As previously stated, she was 6 months old by the time I had made the decision, researched what needed to be in the formula and the best way to add those nutrients, and started giving it to her. We were so miserable and she was always in such pain that when all the other ingredients had come in the mail, except for the DHA, I decided to start making the formula without the DHA until it came in the mail. The formula worked, I had a happy baby that didn’t projectile vomit everywhere multiple times a day! Then the DHA packets came in the mail, about a week later. I added the DHA to the formula and, wouldn’t you know, she started throwing up again. I added the DHA for a week and she threw up every night that I did. I decided to not add it for a week and see what would happen. She stopped throwing up again. Just to be sure, I added it for one more day and she threw up that night. After that, I never added it again and she never projectile vomited again.

But we already knew that DHA can ruin some families’ lives. The question that I have is, the DHA packets that I ordered were from Baby’s Only and were not harshly produced. Their DHA (at least in 2008) was gently extracted from egg yolks, I believe. But it still made my daughter vomit and caused her great pain. So is there any way that just DHA in general doesn’t sit well with some babies. If so, I know that Cornucopia is trying to get the unnatural DHA out of organic baby formula, but won’t they just replace it with a natural DHA? And couldn’t that still yield the same results? What I want to see is baby formula that is available without any DHA again.

What prompted me to get into this stuff again is that I just had my son 2 1/2 weeks ago. And while breastfeeding is successful so far this time around, at some point I may need to give him a bottle here or there in the next year or two. And while I’m grateful that at least Baby’s Only has kept their integrity, they don’t offer a wide range of formulas and my little guy would need a special one that they don’t offer.

In conclusion, please pass the word that DHA is unnecessary as long as the baby gets all of his essential fatty acids, and it should not be included in formula at all.”

Dr. Clarke’s Response to DHA Supplementation for Babies and Children

“We do know that DHA is a very important nutrient for a baby’s, infant’s and child’s growing brain and nervous system. The difficulty and adverse reactions to DHA that have been observed and discussed in previous SafBaby articles have all related to DHA that has been extracted from a separate source. We discussed the DHA that is extracted from algae in the previous posting and this recent comment involves DHA extracted from eggs.

Whenever something is extracted from something else there is always a process involved. A lot of the time this process will require and involve some type of chemical use to assist in the extraction process and this may be something to consider for the baby that reacted to the DHA extracted from eggs.

DHA is found naturally, in very balanced proportions in Cod Liver Oil and this is always my preferred source for supplementing an infant or child with DHA. The appropriate amount and dosage can be very easily adjusted for any age with the liquid form and can be easily added to foods, formula or your child’s favorite drink.

In conclusion and in response to the comment below I would not want to say that DHA should never be given to a baby or infant. Most of the time it is always going to be okay to give the right DHA in the right form and in the right amount.”

About SafBaby’s Health Expert: Dr. Murray Clarke, ND., D.Hom., L.Ac.

Dr. Murray ClarkeDr. Murray Clarke is a doctor of naturopathic medicine with licenses and doctorates in homeopathic medicine and Chinese medicine (including acupuncture and herbology) and is a leading homeopathic physician for children in the Los Angeles area. He is also the founder of ChildLife® Essentials and author of Natural Baby-Healthy Child: Alternative Health Care Solutions from Pre-conception Through Childhood.

Natural Baby-Healthy Child utilizes diet, environmental detoxification, nutritional supplementation and holistic modalities including homeopathy, naturopathy, osteopathy, chiropractic and acupuncture to help parents–from pre-conception to pregnancy, to the baby’s first year through childhood–make the right health decisions for themselves and their child, naturally. Natural Baby–Healthy Child is an essential medical road map that will help keep children firmly on the path to robust, long-term good health and the realization of the full potential of body, mind and soul. For more information, please visit


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