The roles of DHA in health – Part II


Beyond its role in cognitive development in children, DHA continues to have an important role in the adult brain. It improves the communication between neurons in the hipoccampus, a brain area that plays an important role in memory, and is implicated in cognition and mood regulation. The research confirms that DHA is essential for normal neurological development, maintenance of learning and memory, and brain plasticity (the ability of the brain to modify its own structure and function following changes within the body or in the external environment).

DHA and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, another omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid) are important for neuronal membrane integrity and function, and also contribute in prevention of brain hypoperfusion (decreased blood flow). This is very important for the prevention of cognitive impairment.

DHA and EPA are involved in many processes that protect neurons and their potential to decrease neurodegeneration and inflammation in neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases has been demonstrated. Their effect in several psychiatric disorders has been also proven (DHA and EPA deficiency in neural development can lead to disorders like schizophrenia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

As we have just seen, the main health benefits of DHA are related to neurological development from the fetal stage to old age.




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