One of the keys to helping the body work at its best is to keep cells healthy. Nutrients are substances that promote life, health, and growth. They are vital to healthy cells. DHA is a nutrient that makes up a major part of the membranes of nerve cells and of the nerves in the retina of the eye. It is an omega-3 fatty acid found in fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and trout. Unfortunately, not all people get enough DHA through food alone. Vegetarians and vegans often get very low amounts of this nutrient in their meal plan. Why is it so essential to get enough? DHA is important for heart and blood health and normal eye growth. It is also vital to brain growth and function. In pregnancy, DHA is needed for proper fetal growth. That's why many experts suggest that women who are pregnant eat one to two servings of seafood per week that are low in methyl mercury as part of a healthy eating plan. Some pregnant women may skip DHA-rich sources like fish. This may be due to fears about contaminants. But normal intakes of fish that have low levels of mercury during pregnancy haven't been shown to cause problems. There are also pregnant women who are not able to eat fish due to allergies or those who are vegans. Yet, moms-to-be and their growing babies still need the benefits that DHA offers.
DHA in Supplement Form
A supplement is taken to make up for something lacking in the food eaten. DHA supplements can be another way to get this vital nutrient though the benefits remain unsure when taken in this form. There are a variety of DHA formulations to meet the needs of adults, children and pregnant women. Some DHA supplements have other ingredients that may support brain and heart health. This may include green tea extract and L-theanine but more research is still needed to show their usefulness. For vegetarians, there are formulations that are free of fish oil, gelatin and other ingredients sourced from animals. They can supply the DHA that vegetarians and vegans might not get enough of. Moms-to-be can choose prenatal formulations to boost their baby's brain growth. Kids can enjoy a DHA blend made just for them. DHA supplements may be not safe for all people to take. They can prevent blood from clotting. They shouldn't be used by a person with a bleeding problem or those taking blood thinning medications. Talk to your doctor before starting a DHA supplement to make sure it's a good choice for you.
This summary is intended for general informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of purity, strength, or safety of the products. As a result, effects may vary. You should read product labels. In addition, if you are taking medications, herbs, or other supplements you should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before taking a supplement as supplements may interact with other medications, herbs, and nutritional products. If you have a medical condition, including if you are pregnant or nursing, you should speak to a qualified healthcare provider before taking a supplement. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.