Biomarkers

What is Docosahexaenoic Acid?

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is one of the omega-3 fatty acids.

The growth and development of the central nervous system is particularly dependent upon the presence of an adequate amount of the very long chain, highly unsaturated fatty acids, docosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an important member of the very long chain fatty acids that characteristically occur in glycosphingolipids, particularly in the brain. Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA), is integral to the growth and development of the central nervous system in fetuses and infants. Deficiencies in DHA can also lead to ADD/ADHD, mental retardation, and failures in visual development and function, including blindness from retinitis pigmentosa.

DHA plays major roles in:

– brain development [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]
– benefitting the aging brain [891011, 1213141516171819202122]
– eye and vision health [2324]
– reducing inflammation in the body [2526]
– reducing asthma symptoms (272829)
– pregnancy, lactation and childhood [1303132]

Sources of DHA:

The best-known sources of omega-3 fatty acids are algae, cold-water fish, flaxseed, soybean, walnuts and their oils.

High levels:

– High levels suggest you are consuming a lot of fish or fish oils or supplements.
– High levels in males have been linked to a higher prostate cancer risk [33].
– DHA may thin your blood and may cause excessive bleeding [34].

Low levels:

  • Low DHA levels are linked among other things to an increased risk of developing memory complaints, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. [1835, 3637].
  • Low levels are linked to brain diseases [3839].
  • Low levels can cause vision problems, especially in children [1, 40, 41].
  • Low levels are associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and death [42434445].
  • DHA deficiency in early life has been associated with learning disabilities, ADHD, aggressive hostility and several other disorders [464740].
  • Furthermore, studies have linked low levels in the mother to an increased risk of poor visual and neural development in the child [14041].

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20478353
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25954194
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19237271
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23877090
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25054550
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9839027
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11392560
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15478684
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24228198
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24908517
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25457546
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24374232
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15247055
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23721970
  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11869738
  16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9341935
  17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22305186
  18. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25786262
  19. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20434961
  20. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22932777
  21. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17030655
  22. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21929835
  23. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10828169
  24. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15555528
  25. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10479465
  26. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7931724
  27. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8628130
  28. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9551739
  29. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6267608
  30. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7408743
  31. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7408742
  32. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10695931
  33. https://academic.oup.com/aje/article/173/12/1429/206091
  34. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20500789
  35. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17101822
  36. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20838618
  37. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25592004
  38. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22179327
  39. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22315723
  40. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18789910
  41. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18326591
  42. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23047296
  43. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22317966
  44. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10218735
  45. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21684546
  46. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9196357
  47. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26901223

Disclaimer:

The information on healthmatters.io is NOT intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.

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