What Is DHA?

What Is DHA?

When reading about the benefits of omega fatty acids you may be wondering what is DHA and what does it really do in the human body. The answers to these questions are a bit more complex than you may first imagine.



What is DHA: Depicted is a molecule of (DHA) omega-3 Docosahexaenoic acid

First, DHA omega 3 fatty acid is considered one of the essential fatty acids. They are called essential because you have to eat them. The human body on its own cannot produce DHA.

It is what is known as a long chain fatty acid. DHA is required by all cells in the body but is particularly important in the brain, specifically the cerebral cortex, and in the retina in the eyes. It is also used in the male reproductive system as well as an essential element that is passed to infants during breastfeeding.

There is another omega 3 fatty acid known as EPA. It is important in the right ratio with DHA in the body.

DHA Explained

So what is DHA? The intials actually stand for docosahexaenoic acid. It is a polyunsaturated fatty acid that is required for the cells of the body to operate correctly. Although DHA cannot be produced in the human body in sufficient quantities for health it can be synthesized from alpha-linolenic acid in very limited amounts.

In order to obtain the DHA required to provide structure to cells of the brain and to actually allow metabolism to happen properly we have to consume it. The best source of DHA is found in marine life, specifically cold water varieties. These food sources are high in DHA because they feed on microalgae that are very rich in the compound.

Historically the best source was thought to be fish that ate smaller marine life in the food chain. Technology and processing options have now advanced to the point where humans can go directly to the very rich source that the fish also use.

DHA Sources

The best sources of DHA are the small krill that live in the deep waters off the coast of the Antarctic. These krill are the same food sources that the huge whales and other forms of marine and coastal life feed off of on a daily basis.

Processing the DHA supplements directly from the krill source provides a very pure, very rich source of omega 3 fatty acids. You can also obtain DHA in the food that you eat. Good sources include salmon, herrings, sardines, mackerel and halibut. Other fish are lower quality sources as are eggs, lean red meats, turkey, milk and even some vegetables and seeds.

The problem with obtaining DHA or other omega 3 fatty acids from foods it that you would have to eat massive amounts per day. Most people do not consume fish on a daily basis, so this is a huge problem in today's diet.

The answer to this is to use a supplement. Fish oil EPA and DHA was seen as the best source because of the options available. Now, krill oil is seen as one of the best options and one that is very safe.

Choose Krill Oil Supplements

The best way to provide your body with the rich source of omega 3 fatty acids it needs is to use a krill oil supplement. This will ensure that you are getting the right building blocks for health. Even if you still aren't sure just what is DHA your body will respond and you will notice a range of health benefits from increased cardiovascular health to decreased inflammation and joint pain.

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