Pallavi Singh
Written & Compiled by Pharmacist Pallavi Singh, M. Pharmacy (Pharmacy Practice)
Suchitra Chari
Medically Reviewed by Suchitra Chari, M.S. M.Sc.
Last Updated on Dec 09, 2017
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General Information on Docosahexaenoic acid

Generic Name : Docosahexaenoic acid

Pronunciation : Do-Co-Sa-Hexa-Enoic-acid

Latest prescription information about Docosahexaenoic acid. Learn how to pronounce the drug's name, its indications, dosage, how to take, when to take, when not to take, side effects, special precautions, warnings and its storage instructions . Also listed are the Indian trade name(s) of the drug and its price list.
Therapeutic Classification : Dietary Supplements

Overview of Docosahexaenoic acid

Docosahexaenoic acid is an omega-3 fatty acid whose sources include salmon, mackerel seaweed and breast milk.
It is also available in fish oil supplements.

Why is Docosahexaenoic acid Prescribed? (Indications)

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an omega-3 fatty acid that helps the outcomes of people who have existing heart disease; it also helps lower triglycerides, blood pressure, blood clot risk, and arterial plaque formation and may also lower the risk of developing heart disease.
American heart association recommends fish oil supplements in addition to fish in the diet for people who already have heart disease.

DHA aids in the growth and development of the central nervous system and the visual functioning in infants. Hence, DHA is used as a supplement for infants as baby formula during the first year for better mental development. Breastfeeding infants can get the fatty acid though breastmilk.

DHA helps with menstrual cramps when taken regularly, and also reduces symptoms and inflammation linked with rheumatoid arthritis.
It could possible benefit Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and depression.

DHA is found in cold water fatty fish, like salmon, mackerel, herring, tuna, and sardines.
Vegetarians can obtain DHA from seaweed.
As a dietary supplement, it is found in fish oil supplements, along with eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).  

When should Docosahexaenoic acid not to be taken? (Contraindications)

DHA is contraindicated in conditions like allergic reactions and aspirin-sensitivity.

What is the dosage of Docosahexaenoic acid?

DHA supplement is available in fish oils along with EPA or eicosapentaenoic acid and as DHA alone in algae oil.
The recommended dose is 500 mg of fish oil containing 72-312 mg of DHA.

How should Docosahexaenoic acid be taken?

Breastfed infants should get their DHA from their mothers who in turn should consume foods rich in DHA as part of their diet.
Infants on formula should consume DHA-added formula.
Adults should take a dose of 500 mg of fish oil per day.
Pregnant and lactating women should consume 200 mg per day.

What are the warnings and precautions for Docosahexaenoic acid?

DHA may caution difficulty in breathing if the person is sensitive to aspirin.
DHA taken in high content may increase the risk of bleeding.
DHA supplements that also contain EPA are not recommended for infants as it could affect early development.
DHA can lower blood pressure; hence use with caution with other blood pressure lowering medications.
It increases the risk of blood sugar in people with diabetes.
Consult your doctor if you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant before taking DHA.

What are the side effects of Docosahexaenoic acid?

  Gastrointestinal disorder: Loose stools, stomach upset, belching
  Hematological disorder: Prolonged bleeding, nosebleeds
  Others: Nausea

What are the other precautions for Docosahexaenoic acid?

Patients should stop DHA supplements before surgery.
Consult the doctor before taking DHA if you have any blood clotting disorders.

What are the Drug Interactions of Docosahexaenoic acid?

DHA could make the effects of high blood pressure medications stronger (causing very low blood pressure) due to its innate nature of lowering blood pressure.
DHA supplements that have EPA could exacerbate the effects of blood thinners like warfarin, aspirin and clopidogrel as they have a tendency to increase bleeding time themselves.
Omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the effects of the immunosuppressant drug cyclosporine.

What are the storage conditions for Docosahexaenoic acid?

DHA should be stored at 20C temperature.

Last Updated : 12/8/2017

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