Not a treatment for any conditions or ailments, but an essential nutrient required for a healthy living.
DHA deficiency leads to structural and functional damage in the hippocampus, hypothalamus, and cortex areas of the brain, which are important centres for long-term memory, hormonal control, reasoning, and emotional processes.
DHA comprises 97% of the omega-3 fatty acids in the brain. It is linked to the healthy functioning of the brain and its cognition. Research shows DHA is an essential component that affects learning and behavioral development. Moreover, neurophysiological assessment via brain activity indicates a direct correlation with DHA concentration. DHA supplementation shows
DHA-rich supplementation has been shown to be more effective than EPA-rich supplementation in improving higher-order cognitive tasks.
DHA constitutes 93% of all the omega-3 fatty acids in the retina of our eyes. DHA supplementation for the eye is especially needed during the 3rd trimester of pregnancy to infancy, when DHA accumulation is needed for retinal development of the child. Weakened eyesight is often associated with DHA deficiency. Moreover
Many studies have found a strong link between DHA supplementation and the benefits it provides to mothers and infants during pregnancy and nursing.It is not only shown to be beneficial to the fetus, but has also been shown to benefit the mother. DHA accumulates both prenatally and postnatally in the brain, eye, and central nervous system, especially in the 3rd trimester. Since developing foetuses are not able to efficiently produce DHA on their own, they are dependent on maternal sources (placenta during pregnancy and breast milk after birth). Babies accumulate DHA in the CNS up until about 18 months of age. It is seen that DHA helps with:
DHA has been noted to benefit immunity in children. This helps, especially in the case of a preterm infant when supplemented with DHA infant formula, to show similar immunity when compared to breastmilk-fed infants. DHA supplementation has also been found to increase the production of a select few antibodies by enhancing B cell activation. Enhanced secretion of cytokines like Interleukin 6 (IL-6) and Tumour Necrosis Factor alpha (TNF-) that are produced in response to infection, injury or exposure to foreign particles by the body has also been noted because of DHA supplementation.
DHA alters lymphocyte, monocyte, and macrophage functions (of white blood cells that fight disease-causing germs in our body), which reduces chronic inflammatory responses. DHA inhibits leukotriene synthesis by omega-6 fatty acids. This leads to vasoconstriction and mucus in asthma patients. More comprehensive studies are needed to assess the anti-inflammatory properties of DHA supplementation, but at the same time,
The anti-inflammatory properties of DHA have been seen to affect oncogenic proteins, especially in the case of breast, colon, and prostate cancer. Generally, the additive effect of EPA and DHA supplementation at higher doses is noted to reduce the risk of breast, colon, and prostate cancer. Currently, there are studies underway examining possibilities and mechanisms for cancer prevention via omega-3 fatty acid supplementation.
The cardiovascular benefits of DHA and EPA have been well documented. DHA has been seen to affect serum lipid composition by reducing triglycerides and LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and increasing HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) in the body. Sufficient DHA consumption has also been known to reduce blood pressure and heart rate. DHA inhibits the proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells. DHA has also been seen to
DHA and EPA share complimentary benefits for cardiovascular health. Combined supplementation would have an advantage over little or no intake.
DHA is essential for the neurological development and functioning of infants. Studies suggest that DHA may prevent or reduce the risk of many neuropsychiatric disorders in children. DHA supplementation to infants via infant formula or to mothers (to infants via breastmilk) enhances neuromotor development. It affects neurological function by modulating signal transduction pathways, neurotransmission, neurogenesis, myelination, membrane receptor function, synaptic plasticity, neuro-inflammation, and membrane integrity and membrane organization. DHA is seen to be rapidly accumulated in the brain during gestation and early infancy, and the availability of DHA via transfer from maternal stores impacts the degree of DHA incorporation into neural tissues. The consumption of DHA leads to many positive physiological and behavioral effects. Due to DHA deficiency, the integrity and function of the central nervous system can be irreversibly damaged. These advantages are widespread.