Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) Information

Who needs DHA supplements?
Women who are planning a pregnancy: The mother's fat stores at the time of conception play an important role in the nourishment of the fetus. Therefore women should not be on a low-calorie or low-fat diet for three months prior to conception.

-- Women who are currently pregnant or breastfeeding: Approximately 220 mg per day is recommended.

-- Women who conceive another pregnancy closely spaced: Stores of polyunsaturated fatty acids are slow to return to their normal range after birth, and lactation delays replenishment. More research is needed in this area, but it's clear that if conceptions are spaced less than two years apart, a determined effort will need to be made to assure adequate intake of DHA and omega-3s.

-- Adults whose diets may be deficient: There is strong evidence to support the role of DHA in mental and visual function, and low levels have been associated with increased risk for dementia and/or Alzheimer's disease. In addition, DHA has been shown to lower triglycerides and decrease "bad" cholesterol in those with below-average "good" cholesterol levels.

-- Aging adults: As the body ages, the ability to synthesize DHA diminishes. Some studies indicate that many cognitive deficits and undesirable age-associated changes may be arrested with a well-balanced, DHA-rich diet.

Prenatal vitamins, for the most part, do not contain any omega-3 fatty acids. Two examples of those that do:
-- PrimaCare (Ther-Rx Corporation): 300 mg DHA per vitamin
-- DuetDHA (StuartNatal): 200 mg DHA per vitamin

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