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DHA is an essential Omega-3 fatty acid found in fish oils. DHA promotes healthy brain, eye and nerve development and helps maintain concentration, focus and memory.** In addition, DHA works to:

  • Support a bright, healthy mood**

  • Support heart, circulatory and cardiovascular health**

  • Optimize joint flexibility, mobility and comfort**

Read more about DHA

What is DHA?

Docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, is an Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid that's necessary for healthy brain and nervous system development and function. The body only produces a small amount of this essential fatty acid, so humans need to consume DHA from food and supplements. DHA foods are rare, and include the oils from fatty fish -- such as herring, mackerel, salmon, sardines, shellfish and tuna -- and certain types of algae. Most people don't get adequate amounts of docosahexaenoic acid: According to the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination, only 25% of Americans reported any intake of DHA and another omega-3, EPA.**

DHA is important at every stage of life. It is notably present in breast milk, where it is important for the health of mother and baby. Nursing mothers transfer DHA to babies, who require this essential fatty acid for healthy brain, eye and nervous system development. Researchers have suggested that when mothers replenish this lost docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) via supplementation or diet, they may have a brighter outlook and healthier mood. DHA is also prevalent in infant formulas. Studies also show a correlation between increased levels of DHA omega 3 in the blood and improved brain and visual function in children. Other research indicates that docosahexaenoic acid may support reading speed and ability, attention span and stable mood.**

These cognitive benefits aren't limited to children; studies show that DHA protects adult brains from beta amyloid plaque buildup that has been linked with some degenerative brain issues. DHA has been linked to healthy levels of BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic growth factor), which supports neurons and neurotransmitters while encouraging creation of new brain cells. As docosahexaenoic acid levels have been shown to naturally decline with age, DHA supplements may to help maintain healthy cognitive function as we grow older. DHA has also been shown in research to help with concentration, memory and focus.**

DHA promotes overall cardiovascular health. In studies, docosahexaenoic acid supplementation has promoted normal cholesterol, blood pressure and heart rhythm. It is a circulation-booster that helps keep arteries supple and flexible. DHA also supports cardiovascular wellness by modulating inflammation; it contains Omega-3 eicosanoids, or hormones that regulate the body's production of Omega-6 eicosanoids that cause inflammation.**

The FDA notes docosahexaenoic acid DHA in a qualified health claim of omega-3 fatty acids and heart health, which states: "Supportive but not conclusive research shows that consumption of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. One serving of [name of food] provides [x] grams of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids. [See nutrition information for total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol content.]”

Docosahexaenoic acid is also essential to eye health. Sixty percent of the fatty acids in the retina consist of docosahexaenoic acid, and research indicates that this fatty acid promotes clear, sharp vision, maintains membrane fluidity, and stimulates retinal photoreceptor activity. It may help with degenerative eye issues tied to macular health. DHA omega 3 has also been studied for its potential to help with dry eye syndrome.**

Increasing the rate of consumption of Omega-3 acids, like docosahexaenoic acid, as compared to Omega-6 acids appears to modulate inflammatory responses, unleashing a range of additional DHA benefits for cardiovascular, brain, respiratory and immune system health while potentially assisting with digestive problems and skin issues that are related to inflammation.**

DHA Supplements

DHA supplement products are usually presented as softgels. DHA supplements may come from fish oil or from plant sources such as algae. Fish oil supplements contain both eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid (EPA and DHA), while plant-derived supplements typically contain only docosahexaenoic acid DHA.**

DHA Directions for Use

As you would with any supplement, consult with your healthcare provider before using docosahexaenoic acid. Daily DHA dosage generally ranges from 75 to 500 mg of DHA. If taking docosahexaenoic acid as part of a fish oil formula, consult the label to see the exact amount of DHA in each softgel – the total fish oil mg of the supplement will appear to be higher than the actual docosahexaenoic acid supplied.**