DHA is one of the fatty acids in the Omega 3 family. It is mainly found in oily fish such as salmon, tuna, herring, sardines and mackerel.
A brief reminder of the classification of fatty acids
Saturated fatty acids, which are considered to be harmful, are mainly of animal origin. Unsaturated fatty acids are divided into two main categories: monounsaturated fatty acids [the primary one is oleic acid or omega-9 (Ω-9) which comes from sources such as olive oil] and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Polyunsaturated fatty acids include omega-6 type fatty acids (Ω-6 = linoleic acid, found in many vegetable oils) and omega-3 (Ω-3) type fatty acids including α-linolenic acid (in some vegetable oils such as flax seed, linseed, hemp seed etc.), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
The α-linolenic acid (omega-3) supplied is only transformed into EPA and then into DHA if the quantity of omega-6 (linoleic acid) in the diet is not too high, since the same enzymes are responsible for converting omega-6 into gamma-linolenic acid and omega-3 into DHA. The optimum balance of fatty acids in the diet should be 4 Ω-6 to 1 Ω-3. Paradoxically, Ω-3 fatty acids are only present in our modern diet in very small quantities. The ratio of Ω-6 to Ω-3 is frequently 15 or 20 to 1. Due to the excess Ω-6 present, competition for the enzymes is fierce and it is therefore very difficult for our bodies to convert Ω-3 to DHA. Nutritional experts recommend a daily intake of at least 200 mg of this nutrient, but consumption is far below these levels. It is possible to obtain the most essential Ω-3 fatty acid, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) through consumption of oily fish.
- Cognitive and brain function
- Brain and central nervous system integrity
- Prevention of degenerative disorders: Alzheimer’s disease
- Retinal function and prevention of ARMD
- Cardiovascular protection
- Pregnancy, development of the nervous system in the fetus and young child
- Prevention of premature birth.
DHA, essential for the brain
The omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA represent 21 to 36% of the fatty acids in cell membranes throughout the body, but their proportions vary hugely depending on the type of tissue. In mammals, the tissues that contain the most DHA are the retina (19.5%), the testes (8.7%) and the brain (7.2%). The main fatty acid in the brain is DHA, which accounts for 10 to 20% of all fatty acids. As for EPA, it only represents less than 1% of total fatty acids.
- DHA both acts as a structural element in membranes and also has functions in neurons and consequently in synapses. It gives neuronal cell membranes the fluidity they require to ensure that the electrical impulses in cerebral circuits can be properly transmitted.
- In adult life, the brain consists of 60% fatty acids, of which 14% are omega-3, comprising 97% DHA.
- DHA is integrated in the nervous system from the third trimester of fetal life and then within the first few years of life. The fatty acid is essential for its growth and consequently for its proper functioning. This nutrient, which is required for formation of the brain and eyes of very young children, has to be supplied in breast milk because the body is incapable of synthesising it at this age.
- DHA also ensures an effective supply of glucose, which is the principal fuel in the brain.
A number of studies have shown that regular consumption of DHA makes it possible to slow cerebral ageing and reduces the risks of Alzheimer’s disease, other forms of dementia etc.
DHA: essential for retinal function
The retina is a tissue with a high DHA content of approximately 20%.
- It has an essential role in ensuring that light impulses are correctly converted into nerve signals (photo-transduction) and supports the sensitivity and adaptability of the eye to light.
- The concentration of DHA is important in the outer segments of photoreceptors. It is considered to have an anti-apoptotic effect, and it is the only fatty acid that is able to ensure the survival of these cells and reduce markers of cellular apoptosis.
- It has anti-ischaemic effects and reduces the pressures on the retina resulting from ischaemia.
- The DHA in the outer segments of photoreceptors has an anti-inflammatory effect and competes with arachidonic acid at the level of the enzymes responsible for production of eicosanoids.
- It is useful in prevention and reducing the risk of macular degeneration (ARMD).
DHA and cardiovascular protection
The beneficial effects of omega-3 fatty acids on cardiovascular health are well documented. It is known to act primarily by:
- Reducing arterial blood pressure.
- Improving the heart rhythm. (DHA>EPA)
- Reducing the risk of thrombosis.
- Reducing inflammation in arterial walls.
- Reducing the levels of certain fats in the blood, notably triglycerides, which increase the risk of cardiovascular disorders.
- Making the arteries more supple.
Pregnancy, fetal development and early child development
DHA is needed for the development of the structure of the fetal brain, including intelligence and visual acuity.
- During pregnancy the fetus receives up to 2.2 grams of essential fatty acids (omega-3 omega-6) each day, either from maternal reserves or from maternal nutrition. This is only available if the diet includes these nutrients in sufficient quantities.
- Maternal DHA supplementation promotes a higher intelligence quotient in the child. Other benefits are also reported, such as a reduction in allergies.
- The final three months of pregnancy are a critical period which requires special attention because the fetus has a high and continuous requirement for DHA. This is estimated to be 50 to 60 mg per day. At this time the fetus is unable to synthesise enough of the fatty acid to meet its own needs. The main source of DHA is from the mother, and it is transferred across the placenta.
- A number of studies have shown the benefits of DHA supplementation in high quantities in pregnant women in helping to prevent premature birth. Each year 65,000 babies are still born prematurely in France.
The advantage of Liposomal
DHA Liposomes are microscopic spheres made of a phospholipid bilayer encapsulating the active substance, in this case DHA.
The central nervous system is protected by the bloodbrain barrier, which is responsible for allowing the nutrients and minerals that are useful for brain function to pass through it. Liposomal technology ensures that the active substance can penetrate effectively deep into the brain.
- The recommended normal dose is 6 ml per day, diluted in liquid (water or fruit juice).
- 6 ml of Liposomal DHA is equivalent to 400 mg of DHA.
- Shake the bottle gently before use.
- Once opened, store the bottle in the refrigerator and use within 45 days.
Per millilitre: Arthrospira Platensis (spirulina) 600 mg (oil rich in phospholipids containing 11.11% DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) – Purified water – O-Ribose (vegetable origin) – Polysaccharides (natural origin) – Red fruit flavouring (natural origin) – Potassium sorbate (preservative) – Weight per 1 ml: 933.33 mg.
Bottle containing 180 m.
- 109 ml