Have you read or heard about DHA recently? Are you asking yourself 'What is DHA used for?' Here's a quick guide to this most important omega 3 fatty acid to help you decide whether you need to
include more in your diet. If you are interested to know more, take a look at What is DHA.
Good for the brain
What is DHA used for in the brain? Most people don't realise this but the human brain is made up of 60% fats, and approximately half of that figure is the omega 3 fatty acid, DHA. So it turns out that our brains are designed to run on this fatty acid.
Getting a good supply in the diet can help to reduce depression, anxiety, mood swings and Alzheimer's disease.
It is particularly necessary for the proper development of the brain in unborn babies.
Good for the heart
What is DHA used for in the heart? It is used for making the platelets in your blood less likely to clump together and cause blockages.
It can also reduce triglycerides (the blood fats related to cholesterol), thereby reducing your your chances of having heart disease.
In fact, the results of many studies showing DHA's heart benefits have convinced the American Heart Association to suggest that everyone can benefit from taking 100 to 200 mg (1-2 grams) every day as a general preventative against heart problems.
Helps to fight cancer
What is DHA used for in cancer prevention? It can help prevent cancers, such as breast, prostate and testicular cancer, and can slow the progress of cancer if it has already occurred.
Where does it come from?
Omega 3s are found mainly in oily fish. Fish such as salmon, mackerel and tuna are all naturally high in omega 3s and there are many recommendations from health authorities that you increase your weekly consumption of fish to increase your intake.
Grass fed beef is another good source of DHA and the other omega 3s. This is because the cattle you eat get the omega 3s through the grass they consume. Grain fed beef has much lower concentrations.
You can also find it in other foods such as walnuts, flaxseed, rapeseed and linseed but the concentration is less.
Unfortunately, our modern diet is usually lacking in DHA. Grain fed beef is often eaten more than grass fed and the Western consumption of oily fish is usually not high enough to get a good dose.
A word of caution
Although it's a good idea to increase your consumption of fish, you need to be careful about eating too much fish that comes from contaminated waters.
By contaminated, I mean waters that contain high levels of mercury, PCBs and dioxins. These toxic substances become concentrated in the flesh of oily fish and can cause cancers and developmental problems in humans.
This is why fish oil supplements have become popular in recent years. They offer the convenience of a gel capsule, the security of knowing that you are taking the correct dose, and some assurances about the safety and purity of the oil.
But you need to be very careful about the supplements you choose: some are made from fish species caught in contaminated waters and some are less than fresh. You will harm your health, not improve it with such inferior products.
So, now that you know the answer to your question 'What is DHA used for?', do yourself a favour and increase your intake for your health's sake. You'll look and feel better!
If you would like more answers to the question what is DHA used for, take a look at the research and information on my website. You can also learn how to choose a good supplement and find out which ones I take daily myself. For more info, visit What is DHA.