If you follow my work, you know that I strongly advocate for making sure that your diet includes a hearty dose of omega-3 fats, the healthy ones we’ve replaced in our current diet with omega-6 fats. For me, one of the most important omega-3 fats is Docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, and that’s why fish oil or algae-derived DHA is so important.
For starters, DHA is a valuable anti-inflammatory, and you all know how dangerous inflammation is to our brains and our bodies. A recent study found that macrophages (a type of white blood cell) use DHA to produce maresins, which fight inflammation. Since our bodies encounter inflammation almost daily, it’s important to always make sure we’ve got enough omega-3 in our system to help our bodies quiet down these flare ups.
But the key reason that DHA has become such a darling of medical researchers lately is that it triggers the production of BDNF, meaning that it’s DHA which kickstarts the growth of new neurons in our brain, leading to improved memory.
In a double-blind interventional trial, MIDAS, it was concluded that, in those studied,:
Twenty-four week supplementation with 900 mg/d DHA improved learning and memory function in age-related cognitive decline and is a beneficial supplement that supports cognitive health with aging.
Not only is DHA helpful for prevention, it can also help reduce, and even repair, cognitive decline! Even the famous Framingham Heart Study sang the praises of DHA. Operating with the knowledge that the “content of DHA has been shown to be decreased in the brain and plasma of patients with dementia,” researchers sought to test the scientific validity of the relationship between DHA and dementia. In the subjects of this famous study, it was found that high levels of DHA were “associated with a significant 47% reduction in the risk of developing all-cause dementia.”
If you don’t eat a lot of fish, I suggest you start taking a DHA supplement. As I have previously noted, you’ll want to be getting about 1,000mg/day. This can come in pill or liquid form, be it derived from fish or algae…it doesn’t matter as long as you’re getting your daily requirement. And, as with any supplement, you should consult your physician before making any changes to your daily regimen.
If you have some time, browse this selection of studies that I have here on my website that further highlight the benefits of DHA. If you do, you’ll learn that DHA levels can influence everything from vision to hyperactivity.