• 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.
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).
• DHA is contraindicated in conditions like allergic reactions and aspirin-sensitivity.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• Gastrointestinal disorder: Loose stools, stomach upset, belching
• Hematological disorder: Prolonged bleeding, nosebleeds
• Others: Nausea
• Patients should stop DHA supplements before surgery.
• Consult the doctor before taking DHA if you have any blood clotting disorders.
• 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.
• DHA should be stored at 20°C temperature.
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