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What is DHA?

We often see this acronym in fatty acid supplements, but what exactly is DHA and what does it do? The letters DHA stand for Docosahexaenoic Acid, and it is a long chain fatty acid that falls under the category of an Omega-3 essential fatty acid. There are two other main forms of the Omega-3 class of EFAs; EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid) and ALA (Alpha Lipoic Acid). DHA and EPA are generally considered to be the most important of the three.

Being an essential fatty acid, DHA cannot be synthesized by the human body and must be obtained from an outside source. The most common source of DHA for supplements comes from fish oils, with tuna oil being the most common and having the highest concentration of the EFA. There are other forms of DHA such as plant sources, but they are not as easily and efficiently utilized by the human body as fish sources.

The human brain is made up largely of fatty acids, over 50%. Of this amount of brain matter, approximately 30% is made up of the essential fatty acid DHA. What is unknown to many is that the highest concentration of DHA is the human body is the retina of the eye. DHA is especially important for children and newborns, as the fatty acid is a vital component in the development and health of their organs, especially the brain. Supplementing with DHA in our adult years can aid in proper brain health and function as well.

Essential fatty acid supplementation is a must for proper health. After, all these fatty acids are essential, and proper health and wellness cannot go on without them. With the abundance of EFA supplements to choose from, getting your daily dose of DHA is as easy as 1, 2, Omega-3.