Docosahexaenoic Acid – DHA the Brain Food By Docowize Team
Docosahexaenoic Acid – DHA is a 22 carbon Omega 3 fatty acid that forms a major part of the complex circuitry of the brain. Docosahexaenoic Acid – DHA is used for making the neurotransmitters and the nerve sheath also. Almost 90% of the circuitry of the brain is already made at the time of birth. If the mother has an adequate supply of Docosahexaenoic Acid – DHA in her diet, during the last trimester of pregnancy and during lactation, the development of the child’s brain is far better. The children of Docosahexaenoic Acid – DHA fed mothers are more intelligent and have well developed sensory systems, especially vision and hearing.
After birth the infants brain grows rapidly in size, almost at the rate of 1% per day up to 3 months of age . This is a critical stage where availability Docosahexaenoic Acid -DHA is essential. By the end of the first year of life 70% of the adult brain size is achieved and 80% of adult brain size is achieved by the 2 years of age .
During this stage of brain development more of the complex circuitry, synaptogenesis is completed. The tiny gap between two neurons is called as synapse. The formation of these synapses is called synaptogenesis .
During this period and later in life the synapses are pruned (removed) depending upon the skills that are being developed and the skills which are not needed for the individual. This is also the period when the outer layer of the nerves called the myelin sheath is rapidly formed. This process is called myelination. An adequate supply of Docosahexaenoic Acid -DHA is very essential at this stage. As described later breast feeding alone may not be adequate to meet the brain development requirements of the baby.Term infants need about 20mg Docosahexaenoic Acid- DHA per Kg of body weight per day. In the case of babies born prematurely (preterm) the requirement may go up to 40mg Docosahexaenoic Acid -DHA per kg body weight per day .Various Global Authorities like FAO, European Food Safety Authority and World Association of Perinatal Medicine have issued intake Guidelines for Docosahexaenoic Acid -DHA intake in infants.
The anti-oxidant  and immune system of the fetus develops only in the 9th month of pregnancy. Hence preterm babies are at greater risk due to lack of anti-oxidant defense and weak immune system.
Almost 90% of the adult brain size is achieved by the age of 5 years. Thereafter there are no significant changes in the size of the brain, but a lot of adaptive processes take place thru out life
The human brain assimilates, interprets, processes and stores information much faster than any computer. The complex circuitry and signal transmission system is way ahead of the best computers. About 60% of the lipids in the membrane bi-layer of the brain and nerve sheath are made of Docosahexaenoic Acid-DHA. Docosahexaenoic Acid – DHA is also found at the synapses, where the transmission of signals from one cell to the other, occurs with the help of neurotransmitters.
Docosahexaenoic Acid – DHA is also used for energy by the brain. Throughout life all the tissues in the body, including brain are being replaced. It is believed that we are completely renewed in about 7 years and we need a regular supply of Docosahexaenoic Acid – DHA for the brain to continue functioning well. Since it is required for the structure and functioning of the brain, Docosahexaenoic Acid – DHA has been called the ‘Brain Food”.
Docosahexaenoic Acid –DHA synthesis declines with age, as we get older our need to acquire Docosahexaenoic Acid -DHA directly from diet or supplements increases. Because of the decline in Docosahexaenoic Acid -DHA synthesis, Docosahexaenoic Acid -DHA content of brain cell membranes declines.
Consuming foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids throughout life would be a good strategy to get adequate Docosahexaenoic Acid – DHA. The body can make adequate quantities of Eicosapentaenoic Acid – EPA and Docosahexaenoic Acid – DHA from dietary Alpha Linolenic Acid –ALA. Flaxseed, flaxseed oil, walnuts are among the best sources of dietary Alpha Linolenic Acid – ALA.
Blue green algae in the oceans are the main sources of Docosahexaenoic Acid -DHA. It forms the major source of nutrition for small and large fishes. In fact, Docosahexaenoic Acid -DHA gives fishes their particular fishy smell. Marine food, especially deep sea cold water fish like salmon and tuna are very good sources of EPA and Docosahexaenoic Acid -DHA.
Not all people can make their own Docosahexaenoic Acid -DHA from ALA or EPA. Infants, children and elderly people are unable to synthesize this 22 carbon chain Docosahexaenoic Acid -DHA and they need exogenous supplementation.
Quotes about important benefits of Docosahexaenoic Acid – DHA supplementation
Maternal supplementation with Docosahexaenoic Acid -DHA during pregnancy and lactation has been demonstrated to augment children’s IQ. 
Increasing maternal docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) intake by 100 mg/day increases the child’s IQ by 0.13 points. 
In infants who are fed Docosahexaenoic Acid -DHA-supplemented formulas, clear advantages have been demonstrated in visual acuity at two and four months of age, and in neuro-developmental status at 12-18 months of age.
Infants who received Docosahexaenoic Acid -DHA-supplemented formula for the first 17 weeks of life (in a randomized clinical trial in 2000) demonstrated a mean increase of seven points on the Mental Development Index of the Bayley Scale of Infant Development. These infants showed superior performance on both the cognitive and motor sub-scales of the Mental Development Index. 
Docosahexaenoic acid – DHA markedly improves brain function in adults and helps to slow down normal aging, Alzheimer disease and many psychiatric disorders. 
Docosahexaenoic Acid – DHA and its partner EPA are effective in reducing cardiovascular risk, improving immunity, reducing inflammatory diseases, controlling obesity, improving insulin resistance and also fighting cancer.
The stunning success of Docosahexaenoic Acid in enhancing brain development and childhood IQ is likely to be a topic of intense study for decades. Newer emerging research is showing important benefits in adolescents and adults. Docosahexaenoic Acid- DHA really is “brain food,” and thanks to Docosahexaenoic Acid- DHA supplements, expectant mothers can provide its benefits to their future offspring with great confidence. The profound benefits of Docosahexaenoic Acid-DHA for mental health and well-being throughout life makes it very important nutrient.
Now Vegetarian can supplement Docosahexaenoic Acid -DHA form blue green algae (Eg. Docowize Veg Suspension)
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