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 [8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22]
– eye and vision health [23, 24]
– reducing inflammation in the body [25, 26]
– reducing asthma symptoms (27, 28, 29)
– pregnancy, lactation and childhood [1, 30, 31, 32]
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 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 .
– DHA may thin your blood and may cause excessive bleeding .
- Low DHA levels are linked among other things to an increased risk of developing memory complaints, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. [18, 35, 36, 37].
- Low levels are linked to brain diseases [38, 39].
- 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 [42, 43, 44, 45].
- DHA deficiency in early life has been associated with learning disabilities, ADHD, aggressive hostility and several other disorders [46, 47, 40].
- Furthermore, studies have linked low levels in the mother to an increased risk of poor visual and neural development in the child [1, 40, 41].
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