DHA. It's the most complex o'3 of them all. DHA has the most carbon atoms in its chain, namely 22, and 6 double bonds. It is also the most abundant omega-3 fatty acid found in tissues, especially the brain and retina.
Our bodies contain billions of neurons that are constantly forming new branches--axons and dendrites-- and connections. DHA helps promote this process at the cell membrane of neurons. Since DHA is a major component of brain and retina cell membranes, low DHA would lead to abnormal brain function and vision.
DHA - Food for Thought
Several research studies show that patients with impaired brain function have significantly lower DHA levels in their blood. Interestingly, patients with Alzheimer's disease are typically deficient in DHA. A study published in the journal Advances in Nutrition found that diets high in DHA-rich food and low in DHA-poor food was strongly associated with lower risk of Alzheimer's disease. DHA appears to protect against the progressive memory loss characterized by this disease.
DHA - Baby Food?
DHA can shape the development of an unborn child. During pregnancy, especially during the third trimester, large amounts of DHA are transferred from the mother to the fetus via the placenta. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found a neat pattern in children whose mothers made the choice to supplement with DHA during pregnancy. Their children demonstrated stronger problem-solving skills compared with children whose mothers chose not to supplement with DHA. Children with mothers who supplemented with DHA during pregnancy also score higher on hand and eye coordination tests.
If the strong connection to brain function isn't enough, consider another incentive for expecting mothers to supplement with DHA. Research shows that pregnant mothers who supplement with DHA and EPA can protect their babies from allergies. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology suggests DHA protects more body cells from inflammation. When less body cells are exposed to inflammation and immune response, the chances of allergic reactions are less likely.
When a baby is born too early, severe health problems or even infant death is likely. Crucial milestones in growth and development that occur during the final stages of pregnancy are lost or interrupted. What does DHA have to do with preterm briths? A growing body of evidence is showing that DHA (with EPA) can decrease the incidence of preterm briths. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests this may be due to the anti-inflammatory effect DHA has on the uterus, which discourages preterm labor.
The most important and well-known benefits of DHA are its heart-protective benefits. When DHA metabolizes, it breaks down into certain metabolites, including docosatrienes, resolvins, and protectins. These metabolites clean up the mess and debris that inflammation leaves behind. This protects organs and arteries from damage caused by inflammatory chemicals, damage that can promote heart disease.
How to Get your DHA for the Day
The typical American diet can barely meet just half of your DHA needs for the day. Although ALA and EPA are able to convert to DHA, they are unreliable sources of DHA. They cannot convert enough DHA to supply all important organs, including the brain and cardiovascular system.
Like EPA, a good source of DHA is oily fish. A fish oil supplement is a convenient way to get your required omega-3 for the day. Most fish oil supplements contain 120 mg of DHA per capsule. OmegaEnergy has 200 mg of DHA per capsule. Also, many fish oil supplements on the market contain mercury and other heavy metals. Our OmegaEnergy fish oil capsules undergo strict molecular distillation to remove heavy metals, pesticides, PCBs and other dangerous toxins contaminating our oceans and marine life.
According to the Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine, an EPA to DHA ratio 2:1 is optimal. This ratio enhances the synergistic effect of EPA and DHA. OmegaEnergy fish oil capsules provide this ideal ratio of EPA-to-DHA.