Docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, is a type of fatty acid that is considered to be a "healthy fat." As AskDr.Sears.com explains, DHA is a fatty acid that is involved in the production of brain cells and is found in milk to nourish young minds. AskDr.Sears.com suggests there may also be a link between DHA and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Because of the potential benefits of DHA, it is sold as a stand-alone supplement and is infused in other vitamin products. Although AskDr.Sears.com suggests taking in 1500mg of DHA weekly, you should consult your doctor for specific recommendations.
Reduced Risk of Dementia
Dementia is a degenerative mental disease that can impair your cognitive abilities. Traditionally, dementia is age-related, but poor nutrition may influence the onset of dementia. The Mayo Clinic notes that DHA is among a group of supplements that may be beneficial for fighting symptoms of dementia. The Mayo Clinic explains that omega-3 fatty acids such as DHA are "essential nutrient(s) for brain function" and may help prevent disorders such as dementia.
Reduction of ADHD Symptoms
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, also known as ADHD, is a condition in which children have difficulty focusing for long periods of time, which can result in poor academic performance. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, DHA may address symptoms of ADHD. The center explains that DHA's role in brain development may be beneficial, but thus far, research has been mixed.
According to research published in the December 2000 issue of the journal "Psychiatric Clinics of North America," DHA may help depression. The research explains that deficiency of DHA is associated with higher rates of depression and that patients with major depression have been found to be lacking in DHA and other omega-3 fatty acids. The journal explains that the potential for DHA to be used as an antidepressant is "promising," though its efficacy has yet to be confirmed.
Easing Arthritis Symptoms
According to research from the January 2000 issue of the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition," DHA may also have benefits for those suffering from arthritis. Although DHA does not appear to be able to prevent the progression of the disease, research suggests it may reduce the inflammation associated with it. The researchers also suggest that DHA and omega-3 fatty acids should not be used to replace standard arthritis therapy but should be used in conjunction with it.
- AskDrSears.com: DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid)
- Mayo Clinic: Dementia: Alternative Medicine
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
- "Psychiatric Clinics of North America;" Docosahexanoic Acid and Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Depression; D Mischoulon, M Fava; December 2000
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: N-3 Fatty Acid Supplements in Rheumatoid Arthritis