DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is one of the key essential omega-3 fatty acids that your body needs for optimal health, along with ALA, EPA, and ETA. Like other omega-3s, DHA is associated with a variety of health benefits. Every cell in your body contains DHA, and it plays crucial roles in pregnancy, infancy, and brain development. However, your body cannot produce DHA on its own; you have to get it through the foods that you eat – mainly fish, shellfish, and fish oils.
DHA is a vital structural component of your brain, eyes, and skin. In fact, it makes up over 90% of your brain’s omega-3s and up to a quarter of its fat content. Your body can convert ALA into DHA, but only at very low rates. ALA is a plant-based omega-3 fatty acid, and only a very small percentage of it is converted to EPA and DHA in your body. That means that you must consume it in your diet or via supplements.
How Does DHA Work?
Primarily found in cell membranes, DHA makes these membranes and the spaces between cells more fluid. That’s important because it allows nerve cells to transmit electrical signals more efficiently. Low levels of DHA in your eyes or brain can cause these signals to slow, which will have a negative impact on brain function and eyesight.
What Are the Best Sources of DHA?
You can find DHA in abundance in seafood, such as fish, shellfish, and algae. Some foods are better sources than others. In particular, DHA is present in high amounts in:
- Green Lipped Mussel
- Chia seeds
You can also get small amounts of DHA from meat and dairy products from grass-fed animals. However, it can be difficult to get enough DHA from food alone. If you do not or cannot eat these foods regularly, then it’s a good idea to add an omega-3 supplement to your daily intake.
What are the Benefits of DHA?
DHA plays a vital role in the health and functionality of many of the body’s systems, including:
- The developing brain. As mentioned, DHA is extremely important for the growth and function of brain tissue. DHA deficiencies in early life are associated with a number of problems, including learning disabilities, poor visual and neural development, and other issues. However, babies of mothers who consume DHA regularly during their pregnancies exhibit better vision and problem-solving abilities.
- The aging brain. DHA is not only important in early life. As you age, your brain will go through significant natural chemical and structural changes. Interestingly, many of these changes are also discernible in people who don’t consume enough DHA, such as altered membrane properties, neuron function, enzyme activity, and memory function. Taking a supplement may help prevent or delay these and other problems.
- The eyes and vision. Rhodopsin is a membrane protein located in the rods of your eyes. DHA helps activate this protein, which helps your brain receive images by altering the fluidity, permeability, and thickness of your eye membranes. A deficiency of DHA can lead to vision problems – particularly in children, which is why most baby formulas now contain it.
- The heart. Low levels of DHA are linked to a higher risk of heart disease and death; conversely, supplements may reduce that risk. Consuming plenty of DHA and other omega-3 fatty acids may improve your risk factors for high blood pressure, high blood triglycerides, unfavorable cholesterol levels, and endothelial dysfunction.
- Other systems. DHA may protect against a variety of diseases, including arthritis and asthma. These effects are probably because of the anti-inflammatory abilities of omega-3s.
How Much DHA Do You Need?
Guidelines for healthy adults generally recommend at least 250 to 500 mg of EPA and DHA combined per day. Very young children up to two years old may need around five mg per pound of body weight, while older children can typically take up to 250 mg per day. Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers should get at least 200 mg of DHA per day or as much as 300 to 900 mg of combined EPA and DHA. People experiencing mild memory problems may benefit from up to 1,700 mg of DHA per day. Incidentally, it’s possible that turmeric may enhance your body’s absorption of DHA and give the DHA levels in your brain a boost.
The bottom line is that DHA is a key component of every cell in your body – and that you must include DHA-rich foods and/or supplements in your diet to ensure that you get enough. GLX3 contains not just DHA, but also EPA and ETA, two other essential omega-3 fatty acids. That means that you can get all the omega-3s that you need in one convenient supplement. Combined with a healthy diet, GLX3 can help you achieve the best possible overall health.
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