DHA: The primary building block of the human brain tissue and eyes.
• Essential nutrient for optimal brain function
• Studies support an association between DHA and benefits to the cardiovascular system
• Studies indicate a link between DHA and improved brain function
• Supports healthy blood pressure
• Supports healthy growth hormone levels
• Plays an important role in healthy eye function
• Supports healthy inflammatory response
What is DHA?
DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid (not to be mistaken with DHEA) is an omega-3 essential fatty acid. It is one of the primary building blocks of the brain and the eyes. DHA ensures optimal composition of cells in the brain, retina, heart and parts of the nervous system. Approximately 30% of the structural lipid in the gray matter of the brain is DHA. Thus, it is required for the proper functioning of the neural systems.
DHA is vital for normal brain development of the fetus and infant, and for the maintenance of normal brain function throughout life.
Why should you take DHA?
• Brain and Nervous System Support: DHA is prevalent in brain cell membranes. It is the main fatty acid in the brain (which contains 60% fats) and in the retina. Adequate levels of DHA are essential for brain development during pregnancy and early childhood. Some scientists have suggested that serious degenerative diseases may be due, at least partly, to prolonged deficiency in DHA. Because of its importance in the development of the brain and nervous system, DHA intake in the mother’s diet influences birth-weight. Breast milk contains 0.2% DHA, and for this reason in particular, breastfed babies have better resistance and better visual acuity than bottle-fed babies.
• Hearth Health: DHA reduced hypertension and heart rate in men with mild hyperlipidaemia in a controlled, comparative study. By reducing blood viscosity, evidence indicates that DHA increases red blood cell membrane fluidity, thereby increasing the deformability of the blood cells so that they can move through capillaries more easily and thereby lower blood pressure. DHA may also reduce blood pressure by lowering cortisol.
• Autoimmune Disorders: DHA supplementation in healthy young men has been shown to decrease the activity of immune cells, such as natural killer (NK) cells and the cells that regulate inflammation responses in the body. The anti-inflammatory effects of DHA may be useful in the management of autoimmune disorders.
Who is likely to be deficient?
A link has appeared between DHA deficiency and Alzheimer’s disease; similarly, preliminary evidence shows that children with attention deficit disorder (ADD) have low DHA levels. Preliminary evidence suggests that people with a variety of rare but related congenital diseases (Zellweger’s syndrome, neonatal adrenoleukodystrophy, and infantile Refsum’s disease) may be DHA-deficient, and may even benefit from DHA supplementation. At least four studies have reported a reduced blood level of omega-3 fatty acids in people with depression. Many doctors believe the diets of most people eating a Western diet do not provide optimal amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.
How much should be taken? Are there any contraindications?
• Typical daily dosage ranges from 100-500 mgs.
• There are no known reports of toxicity associated with DHA.
• If you are pregnant or lactating consult a health care practitioner prior to using DHA.