Today is the first healthy tip of the month, which means we’ll be talking about fats and oils.
DHA is an essential fatty acid that is necessary to consume throughout our lives for brain function. As a supplement, there are liquids, gel caps and even chewable options. In foods, DHA is found in fish and fish oil, dairy (better if unpasteurized), eggs, some organ meats, seaweed and algae. Another type of essential fatty acid is found in some nuts and seeds that can be converted to DHA, however these sources provide a low yield, is a slow process and requires other nutrients to convert them.
DHA is a crucial supplement to take during pregnancy to support brain development in the fetus. Breastfeeding is an excellent source of DHA for growing infant brains and found in higher quantities if mom continues to take it. In fact, DHA supports the development of the nervous system and vision if consumed during the first 6 months of life. There is also speculation that DHA helps with focus and ADHD.
As we age, a deficiency of DHA will lead to brain function decline, memory loss and has a potential link to Alzheimer’s Disease. On a side note, DHA is found in muscle tissue and all organs. DHA is anti-inflammatory, thins the blood, decreases triglycerides and the risk of heart disease, and helps with depression.
There is no standard dosage set at this time for DHA. Recommendations range from 300mg – 1,000mg/day; however studies on DHA are typically done with 1,000 – 2,500mg/day. The only warning I want to share is that because DHA does thin the blood, if you already take blood thinners you should speak with your doctor before adding this healthy, natural supplement.