Your brain is the reason you’re able to think, feel, create memories, and more. Taking care of this essential organ is undeniably important.
While scientists are able to vaguely explain how the brain works, the majority of its processing remains a mystery. In other words, this is one organ that we don’t fully understand. However, this doesn’t mean we don’t know what the brain needs to thrive.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an omega-3 fatty acid that plays an essential part in the development of the brain, as well as maintenance of the brain for normal function. So, what should you know about DHA? What exactly is its role when it comes to brain health?
What Does DHA Do for Your Body & Brain?
DHA has many benefits. Some of the most important ones include:
1. Improving Heart & Circulatory Health
Studies show how DHA has the capability to improve heart health and help reduce the risk of a heart attack. In fact, DHA was shown to be more effective at reducing inflammatory markers when compared to another omega-3 fatty acid, EPA.
Diving further, DHA supports good circulation and enhances your blood vessels’ ability to dilate. In turn, this can improve blood pressure, lowering the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
2. Enhancing Memory Function
DHA is necessary for your brain to function optimally. In fact, research demonstrated how DHA has the ability to improve memory function in adults with mild memory impairments.
Alzheimer’s patients were even found to have lower levels of DHA, which scientists theorize might be a contributing factor to the development of this disease. However, researchers also seem to agree that DHA is more beneficial before any cognitive decline begins.
3. Promoting Improved Mental Health
DHA, along with other omega-3s, could potentially reduce a person’s risk of depression and other mental health disorders. In fact, one study showed how individuals taking DHA and EPA via cod liver oil had a 30% lower risk of developing depression.
4. Contributing to Overall Brain Function & Health
Various sources of scientific literature indicate the importance of DHA when it comes to maintaining optimal brain function and health. Researchers state that DHA is essential for normal brain function, contributing to improved learning, better memory, and preventing age-related cognitive decline.
DHA: Dosage & How to Take It
The body is actually able to make a small amount of DHA using other fatty acids. However, you still need to obtain a sufficient amount via your diet or supplementation.
Generally, the daily recommended amount of DHA is 200-500 mg, along with adequate EPA. Some foods that are high in DHA include:
Alternatively, if these aren’t your favorite foods or you don’t consume enough of these foods in your diet, supplementation is your next best move, such as Life Nutrition’s Algae DHA or Deep Sea Fish Oil.
The main takeaway? Ensure you’re getting enough omega-3s (including DHA!) so that you can age gracefully and maintain optimal cognitive function for many years to come.