What is DHA?
DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is an essential fatty acid (EFA). EFAs are called “essential” because we must obtain them from diet. DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid commonly found in fish oil. EFAs are necessary for good health, and DHA is a wellknown key to a healthy nervous system.
It is the building block of the brain – 60 percent of the brain is fat, and DHA is the most abundant fat in the brain and the retina. It plays a role in the structural development of retinal, neural, and synaptic membranes. DHA is essential in communication between the brain and nervous system. It plays a role in the cell membrane. Without DHA and other fatty acids, communication within this system can break down or become less effective.
The body’s ability to synthesize DHA, which is limited in all people, may decline with age. We get some DHA in our diets, but vegetarians might get less. Rich sources of DHA are red meats, animal organs and eggs. Research indicates that low levels of DHA may be involved in a number of health problems relating to the nervous system.
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition presents research indicating that omega-3 fatty acids, specifically DHA, may reduce the risk of depression. The authors associate the increase in depression in the past century with the decline in consumption of DHA. They also note that there are lower rates of major depression in societies that consume large amounts of fish, a key dietary source of DHA.
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Reference: AIM GinkgoSensedata sheet