Should Vegans Take DHA to Preserve Brain Function?

Docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, is a polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acid (PUFA) found throughout the body. It is a major structural fat found in the brain and eye accounting for up to 97% of the total omega-3 fats in the brain and up to 93% of the omega-3 fats in a specific part of the eye, called the retina. It is also a key component of the heart. DHA  is naturally found in breast milk. Numerous research studies confirm that everyone, from infants to adults to the elderly, can benefit from a regular intake of dietary DHA.

Its importance has not been stressed enough until recently, though.

A double-blind, randomized interventional study provides first-time evidence!

Dietary Sources of DHA

Dietary sources of DHA include:

Algae – Certain algae are natural sources of DHA and EPA. While most people believe that fish produce their own DHA and EPA, in fact, it’s the algae in their food chain that makes them a rich source of these omega-3s.

DHA fortified foods, beverages and supplements.

Does flaxseed oil contain DHA?

Flaxseed oil is a source of alpha-linolenic acid, ALA, a precursor of DHA. ALA is an important source of energy, however there are no known specific benefits of ALA on brain or eye development and function. While the human body can convert ALA to DHA and EPA, it occurs at a rate of less than 1%, so it is best to consume preformed DHA directly for the health benefits.