Probably there are no adults on our planet who would not have heard about polyunsaturated fatty acids from the Omega-3 group. All manufacturers of dietary supplements talk about their importance and regular use. Doctors and numerous specialists in dietetics, also, regularly raise the topic of the influence of vitamins of the Omega-3 group. One of the most often discusses is probably DHA. The benefits of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) for our body can hardly be overestimated. And what about DHA pregnancy? What’s the use of DHA for pregnant women?
DHA Is One of the Most Necessary Species of Omega-3
DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) refers to the category of polyunsaturated fatty acids of the Omega-3 class. This is one of the most important structural components in the body. It plays a role in maintaining the structure and function of all cell membranes.
Why Should One Take DHA?
Docosahexaenoic acid is formed in the human body, but only in small amounts. To stay healthy, we need to receive extra amount with food every day.
Polyunsaturated fatty acids play an important role in the proper development of the body and in maintaining excellent health for many years. The conducted studies confirm the positive effect of DHA on the cardiovascular system, on the prevention of cancer, on the reduction of inflammatory processes (for example, arthritis) in the body.
There have been less conducted studies of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) on the structures of the brain. But they also have positive results. For example, it is reliably known that the necessary concentration of DHA in the brain affects the state of memory, the ability to perceive information and other cognitive and behavioral functions.
What Food Products Are the Best Sources of DHA?
The sources of DHA are various food products: mustard and flaxseed oil, flax seed, chia. But traditionally people consume most of the docosahexaenoic acid from seafood. The fish, in turn, receives DHA from seaweed, which is an excellent source of this acid.
The main problem is that it is almost impossible to get the necessary amount of docosahexaenoic acid from food. A person simply cannot eat such a quantity of fish per day. In addition, fish can accumulate contaminants from the ocean, including heavy metals such as mercury. This, in turn, poses a real danger to health.
Therefore, the best option would be the use of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) in the form of vitamins. Thus, you can get the required amount of DHA even if you do not like fish and other seafood.
DHA Pregnancy: Effect of DHA ON the Fetus
The brain of the future child begins to develop already from the first weeks of pregnancy. For a successful development, the baby needs nutrients, including docosahexaenoic acid, which is part of the Omega-3 complex. Long before pregnancy, a woman should accumulate in her body a sufficient amount of DHA. Thus, DHA pregnancy will ensure a full development of the child in the future.
A developing person is very vulnerable to a lack of vitamins, because there is a rapid development of neurological processes in the brain: the development of nerve fibers and the formation of synaptic connections. If during pregnancy DHA is present in a small amount in the mother’s body, the child falls into a risk group for the pathology of the nervous system and the organs of vision.
EFSA – The European Food Safety Authority conducted an analysis of the effects of DHA on the brain and the visual system of infants. The results were amazing. Women who consumed a sufficient amount of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), gave birth to children with good eyesight and an excellent nervous system.
Research Data About DHA Pregnancy
Elevated levels of DHA pregnancy have several positive effects on the health of children of the first year of life:
- Studies show that children receiving a lot of DHA from the mother have better vision (both visual acuity and color perception).
- It has been proven that a sufficient amount of DHA increases the duration of pregnancy. What’s more, it reduces the risk of premature birth.
- The intake of DHA by the mother during pregnancy improves the motor skills in children. These improvements are manifested during the whole subsequent life.
- The use of DHA by pregnant and lactating women, improves the child’s attention. The study showed that 5-year-old children, who received DHA with breast milk in the first 4 months of life showed better results when assessing attention, compared to children whose mothers did not take DHA.
- In one study, blood pressure was measured in children aged six years. It was shown that children who received DHA and AA (arachidonic acid- another type of fatty acids) had lower blood pressure during the subsequent life. The researchers suggested that children receiving DHA have a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease during adulthood.
Influence of DHA on an Adult Person
The effect of docosahexaenoic acid on the body of an adult cannot be overemphasized. Scientists have confirmed that a sufficient amount of DHA in the body gives the flexibility of thinking, increases the human memory and the word stock.
Today, the Omega-3 complex is considered as a preventive measure against dementia in old age. There are suggestions that such disorders in the elderly are associated with an insufficient content of DHA in the body. And although this fact has not been proved yet, there are cases that the progression of Alzheimer’s disease (senile dementia) slows down its pace with the use of sufficient amount of DHA.
Which Products Contain Docosahexaenoic Acid?
There are so many words about the benefits of DHA, but where should one take it? There are two ways of obtaining docosahexaenoic acid – 1) food, 2) biologically active additives.
What food products contain DHA? As already noted earlier, DHA is found in fish and seafood. This trace element is also present in vegetable, olive, sunflower, and peanut oil, in nuts and some green vegetables, such as broccoli. In combination with taking docosahexaenoic acid vitamins, the inclusion of food in your diet will be an excellent prevention of premature aging, obesity, the birth of a mentally retarded child and other serious problems.