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DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid): Nutritional Supplement not be missed in the diet.

DHA, Docosahexaenoic Acid, EPA, Linoleic acids, Omega 6, Alpha linolenic, Omega 3,

DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid): Nutritional Supplement not be missed in the diet.

Study suggests that fat makes up sixty percent of the brain and the nerves that run through entire body system. So, logically it proves that the better the fat in the diet, the better the brain. But why not we have more geniuses, in spite of the fact that fat constitute a good part of the diet of a large percentage of population in the world? The answer lies that average people do get enough of fat but not the right kind of fat.

The human body needs two kinds of fat to manufacture healthy brain cells (the message senders) and prostaglandins (the messengers). These are omega 6 fatty acids and omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 6 fatty acids are found in many oils, such as safflower, sunflower, corn, and sesame oils whereas Omega 3 fatty acids are found in flax, pumpkin seeds and walnuts, and coldwater fish, such as salmon and tuna.

Linoleic acids (or omega 6) and Alpha linolenic (or omega 3) are two essential fatty acids that are most important to the brain function. These are the prime structural components of brain cell membranes and are also an important part of the enzymes within cell membranes that allow the membranes to transport valuable nutrients in and out of the cells.

The eye is a perfect example of the importance of getting the right kind of fat. The retina of the eye contains a high concentration of the fatty acid DHA, which the body forms from nutritious fats in the diet. The more nutritious the fat, the better the eye can function. And since most people are visual learners, better eyes mean better brains.

The most rapid brain growth occurs during the first year of life, with the infant's brain tripling in size by the first birthday. During this stage of rapid central nervous system growth, the brain uses sixty percent of the total energy consumed by the infant. Fats are a major component of the brain cell membrane and the myelin sheath around each nerve. So, it makes sense that getting enough fat, and the right kinds of fat, can greatly affect brain development and performance. In fact, during the first year, around fifty percent of an infant's daily calories come from fat. Mother Nature knows how important fat is for babies; fifty percent of the calories in mother's milk are fat.

DHA is the primary structural component of brain tissue, so it stands to reason that a deficiency of DHA in the diet could translate into a deficiency in brain function. In fact, research is increasingly recognizing the possibility that DHA has a crucial influence on neurotransmitters in the brain, helping brain cells better communicate with each other.

Research finding confirms that Infants who have low amounts of DHA in their diet have reduced brain development and diminished visual acuity.
The increased intelligence and academic performance of breastfed compared with formula- fed infants has been attributed in part to the increased DHA content of human milk.

Cultures whose diet is high in omega 3 fatty acids (such as the Eskimos who eat a lot of fish) have a lower incidence of degenerative diseases of the central nervous system, such as multiple sclerosis.

Experimental animals whose diets are low in DHA have been found to have smaller brains and delayed central nervous system development.

Children with poor school performance because of Attention Deficit Disorder have been shown to have insufficient essential fatty acids in their diet.

A diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids (such as the LNA from flax oil or the EPA and DHA from fish oils) not only provides the body with healthy fats, but it also lowers the blood level of potentially harmful ones, such as cholesterol and, possibly, even reversing the effects of excess trans fatty acids.

The best sources of DHA are: seafood, algae, and especially coldwater fish. Omega-3 fatty acids are nature's antifreeze. Popular sources of DHA are: salmon, sardines, and tuna. Eggs and organ meats have a small amount of DHA in them, but the healthiest source of dietary DHA is seafood. Two 4-ounce servings of omega-3-rich fish per week should yield a sufficient amount of omega-3 fatty acids, especially DHA. Besides fish oils, vegetable oils (primarily flaxseed, soy, and canola) are also rich sources of omega 3 fatty acids, with flaxseed oil being the best. Fish and flax, are the top brain-building foods for growing children, and adults.

The fact that Omega-3 DHA ‘docosahexaenoic acid’ is an essential fatty acid, which cannot be manufactured in our body and must be obtained daily through our diets, can not be ignored. But DHA is the most complex form of Omega-3 and is difficult to include in our diet as only few foods contain a significant amount. For the necessary growth and other advantages what DHA can provide to our health, it would be advisable to have DHA in our daily diet.

Published: 2007-02-09
Author: Rama Kant Mishra

About the author or the publisher
I have done Masters in Fisheries Management and have written and published articles on Fisheries, Agriculture, Medical, Pharmaceutical, political, self Improvement and Career. Professionally working for an IT company as a Technical Writer. I love to write and publish and have worked as freelance writer, ghost writer and as special correspondent for print media. You may find me contributing on and You may reach me at mishraramakant@gmail.

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