DHA, short for Docosahexaenoic Acid, is a long-chain omega-3 fatty acid that belongs to the family of polyunsaturated fats. It is an essential nutrient for the human body, primarily found in cold-water fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna. DHA is considered essential as it cannot be produced in sufficient quantities by the body and must be obtained through the diet or dietary supplements.
DHA plays a crucial role in maintaining optimal brain function and development, especially during infancy, childhood, and pregnancy. It is a major component of the brain and the central nervous system, comprising about 97% of the omega-3 fatty acids in the brain. It supports cognitive functions like memory, learning, and overall mental health.
In addition to its neurological benefits, DHA also contributes to maintaining proper cardiovascular health. It promotes healthy blood circulation, reduces inflammation, and helps to lower blood pressure and triglyceride levels. DHA is believed to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and improve heart health.
Moreover, DHA is beneficial for eye health. It is a major structural component of the retina and promotes healthy vision, particularly in infants and elderly individuals.
Due to its numerous health benefits, DHA is commonly added to dietary supplements or fortified foods. Supplementation with DHA is particularly recommended for individuals who may have limited access to fish or may not consume it regularly, such as vegetarians or individuals with dietary restrictions.