Let’s start by asking why DHA is so important. DHA is one of the good fats found throughout the body and is essential for the development and function of the brain, eye and heart.
Why is DHA important?
It fuels cells in these and other parts of the nervous system, keeping them at peak function. Legitimately called ‘Brain Food’, the majority of the omega-3 fatty acids in both the brain (97%) and the retina (93%) are made of DHA. DHA is a key component in the heart, has anti-inflammatory properties, aids in treatment of depression, and helps to minimize aggressive reaction to stress. Naturally found in breast milk, our bodies continually utilize and require DHA through-out our entire lives. However, our bodies do not produce adequate stores of DHA. It must be replenished through food, beverages or supplements.
What is DHA?
DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is a long chained polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acid. That information might not mean much to you, the important thing to remember is that DHA is extremely important to our overall health and our bodies need an adequate of amount of DHA to function well. So, the next important question to ask is where is DHA found? While DHA is found in the meat of most fish, all fish sources are not created equal. Particularly valuable is in the meat of fatty fish such as mackerel, albacore tuna, wild or river salmon, canned sardines, and halibut.
How do I get DHA?
Nutritionists recommend 200mg of DHA per day, which can be acquired by eating two fish dinners a week. However, because fish contain mercury, a substance very harmful to fetal health, women are encouraged to avoid fish during pregnancy. Instead, readily available DHA supplements which have been purified to ensure no exposure to mercury are recommended for pregnant women. Additionally, vegetarians are encouraged to take DHA supplements.