What Do DHA and Brain Development Have in Common?

Have you heard about this recently? There have been numerous studies concerning Docosahexaenoic acid or DHA and brain development in infants and children. Recent research has focused on the essential natural of the nutrient throughout a person’s life. There is reason to believe that regular intake may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and other neurological conditions. It is also important to the eyes.

Research has shown that infants whose mothers got enough omega-3s during pregnancy and while breast-feeding develop visual acuity faster than those of mothers with lower intakes. That’s understandable, because Docosahexaenoic acid is one of the major components of the retina, the light gathering mechanism connected to the optic nerve and responsible for sight. Of the fatty acids in the retina, about 60% are DHAs.

Most of the brain’s mass is fat and a large portion (about 40% in normal cases) of that fat is DHA. Without adequate synapse xt supplies during fetal development, infancy and childhood, cognitive performance will be slow. Children are more likely to have behavioral problems and learning disabilities. ADHD is more common.

Not all of the studies have concerned DHA and brain development. A great many have focused on other developmental benefits. Research indicates that higher intakes reduce the risk of asthma and allergies. Researchers say that omega-3s in general are important to normal immune system function.

Allergies and asthma are ultimately caused by an overactive immune system. Inflammation occurs in response to irritants that should not cause the problem and sometimes when no irritants at all are present.

It is because of all of these studies and because Docosahexaenoic acid is found in human breast milk that infant formulas are now fortified with the nutrient. Many baby foods contain it, too.

Vegans don’t always like to hear about the results concerning DHA and brain development, because the only dietary sources are fish and seafood. Some types of marine algae are being grown in bioreactors to allow for the manufacture of supplements for strict vegans, but they are quite a bit more expensive than fish oil, which is found in most dietary supplements.

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