16) Docosahexaenoic Acid and Cognition throughout the Lifespan

M J. Weiser et al; Nutrients 2016, 8, 99

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is the predominant omega-3 (n-3) polyunsaturated fatty acid(PUFA) found in the brain and can affect neurological function by modulating signal transduction Pathways, neurotransmission, neurogenesis, myelination, membrane receptor function, synaptic Plasticity, neuro-inflammation, membrane integrity and membrane organization.

DHA is rapidly accumulated in the brain during gestation and early infancy, and the availability of DHA via transfer from maternal stores impacts the degree of DHA incorporation into neural tissues. The consumption of DHA leads to many positive physiological and behavioral effects, including those on cognition.

The modern diet typically lacks appreciable amounts of DHA. Therefore, in modern populations, maintaining optimal levels of DHA in the brain throughout the lifespan likely requires Obtaining preformed DHA via dietary or supplemental sources.

In studies examining the intake of DHA during pregnancy, none of the women in Mexico, Bangladesh or India met recommendations. DHA has proven synaptic effects that improve synapse strength and numbers, and DHA can help prevent mitigate oxidative stress and neuro inflammation.