What is DHA ? I
have been looking for a suppliment for ADHD patients that would help
improve the brain function and generate new brain cells. In my research,
I found that most of the formula manufacturers have started using DHA
in the infant formulas since last few years. The breast milk contains
very high amounts of DHA. By adding the DHA to the baby formulas, there
was significant clinical evidennce for improved brain function in infants.
(docosahexaenoic acid) is a long-chain, polyunsaturated omega-3
fatty acid. It is found in large concentrations in the retina, brain
and adrenals. DHA is the most unsaturated fatty acid available in the
DHA Supplements are sold at my office.
does it do in the human body?
DHA is important in the body for many functions. About half of the brain
and eyes are made up of fat, much of which is DHA. The omega-3 plays
an important role in brain and central nervous system development and
function, psycho-motor development (such as eye-hand coordination),
visual development and function, cardiovascular health, and nerve signal
transmission. Recent research is focusing on the important role of DHA
in mental and visual development and function during pregnancy and breastfeeding,
and in infant and toddler nutrition.
does it come from?
DHA is predominantly produced by marine algae and is abundant in fish
because they feed on algae. The best sources of DHA are seafood, especially
cold water fish such as salmon, sardines, cod, mackerel, halibut, herring,
trout and albacore tuna. Fish oils such as cod liver oil are also good
sources. Eggs and organ meats have a small amount of DHA. ALA (alpha-linolenic
acid)—the precursor to DHA—is available through walnuts,
flax and canola oil, the body must convert the nutrients in these sources
to DHA. For many Americans who eat high quantities of foods containing
omega-6 fatty acids (such as beef and eggs), this process can sometimes
be inefficient. The best way to optimize DHA intake from fish is to
steam it. Other good options include baking, broiling, and grilling.
Frying is possibly the worst option, as excessive heat destroys DHA.
do we get it?
DHA is either present in the diet or it is derived from dietary sources
of ALA. Getting it from direct dietary sources (like seafood) is best.
Flax seed oil provides ALA, which needs to be converted by the body
into EPA and DHA. For many North Americans whose diets are high in fat,
conversion can be less than optimal. Dietary saturated fats, monounsaturated
fats, trans-fatty acids, and cholesterol slow conversion in proportion
to dietary levels. (Vegetarians, who typically don’t consume as
much saturated fat, may have more success when consuming non animal
sources of omega-3 fatty acids.) Deficiencies in vitamins B3, B6 and
C, as well as magnesium and zinc, may also slow conversion until they
are adequately supplied.
is the difference between Omega-3 and Omega-6?
There are two kinds of essential fatty acids in the diet: omega-3 and
omega-6. Omega-3 fatty acids are considered essential fatty acids, which
means that they are essential to human health but are not manufactured
by the body. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish and certain plant
oils. It is important to maintain an appropriate balance of omega-3
and omega-6 (another essential fatty acid) in the diet as these two
substances work together to promote health. These are unsaturated fats,
as opposed to the saturated fat in meat and butter. Unlike the food
sources for omega-3s discussed earlier, omega-6 fats come from meats,
safflower, soy, corn and vegetable oil.
Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Children and adults with ADHD may have low levels of certain essential
fatty acids (including EPA and DHA) in their bodies. In a study of nearly
100 boys, those with lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids demonstrated
more learning and behavioral problems (such as temper tantrums and sleep
disturbances) than boys with normal omega-3 fatty acid levels. In animal
studies, low levels of omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to lower
the concentration of certain brain chemicals (such as dopamine and serotonin)
related to attention and motivation. Studies that examine the ability
of omega-3 supplements to improve symptoms of ADHD are still needed.
At this point in time, eating foods high in omega-3 fatty acids is a
reasonable approach for someone with ADHD. However, from practical stand
point, the Mercury and other heavy metal contamination of the fish available
in USA markets would prevent us from consuming enough fish to provide
the adequate Omega 3 fatty acids. The Omega 3 DHA/EPA product manufactured
by NOW Foods of Bloomingdale, Illinois, uses the Molecular Filtration
to eliminate the heavy metals and provide 500 mg of EPA and 250 mg of
DHA. The are produced as Gel Caps which are rather very large and difficult
to swallow. They also manufacture the liquid form of DHA/EPA
How is DHA important to adults?
DHA is important for ongoing brain, eye and cardiovascular health. Throughout
our lifecycle, the body continues to turnover DHA—therefore it’s
necessary to replenish the bodies supply. It is very important to the
brain, retina, testes, and adrenal glands for facilitating optimal functioning.
Inadequate DHA in the brain is thought to be an important contributing
factor in many of its functional problems, including depression.
Keeping a proper balance in the body between omega-3 fatty acids and
omega-6 fatty acids can help maintain overall health. Preliminary studies
also show DHA’s potential in reducing the risk of certain neurological
diseases. Perhaps most important for adults is the connection with cardiovascular
health—DHA is a key component of the cardiovascular system, and
may prove important in normalizing certain blood lipids. The American
Heart Association recommends at least two servings of DHA-rich seafood
per week, or for those with existing cardiovascular disease, at least
1,000 milligrams of fish oil supplements per day, under the supervision
of their doctor.
DHA is found in cold water fatty fish, including salmon, tuna (blue-fin
tuna have up to five times more DHA than other types of tuna), mackerel,
sardines, shellfish, and herring. Although some of these fish contain
low levels of mercury, the Food and Drug Administration has found that
consuming several servings of fish each week poses no risk to healthy
people and conveys many health benefits. Women who are pregnant or planning
to become pregnant should avoid Atlantic mackerel, shark, swordfish,
and tilefish, and should limit consumption of white albacore tuna to
under 6 oz. per week. (High-quality fish oil supplements made by manufacturers
who test for mercury and other toxins do not pose the same risk of mercury
contamination. Read labels carefully and check for purity, or ask your
doctor to help you find the best quality DHA supplement.) For infants,
breast milk from a well-nourished mother contains significant amounts
of DHA, while infant formula often has none.
Can I get too much DHA?
The body is very efficient at absorbing dietary fat. However, omega-3
fatty acids in high doses (3 grams or more) can cause flatulence and
diarrhea in some people. High doses can act as a blood thinner, patients
on blood-thinning medications should check with your health care provider
before using supplements.
behind DHA continues to show that this particular omega-3 fatty acid
may have many health benefits in the body, for adults and children alike.
Exciting new studies examine the effectiveness in cognitive development,
visual acuity, Attention Deficit Disorder, and Alzheimer’s disease
which promises to illuminate even more of its necessity in our daily
can I get DHA Supplements ?
You can purchase these at Costco, Sam's Club or any other reputable pharmacy.
||ADHD Support Pack
|ProOmega 120 capsules / DHA 450 mg / EPA 650mg
|2 gelcaps a day
Tablet a day
E 400 IU
Tablet a day