Want to know how to improve brain function? We have laid out everything you need to know! Keep reading.
Do you forget where you parked your car? Do you lose your keys? Do you experience brain fog? Does your family have a medical history of Alzheimer’s or dementia? What about ADHD or ADD? All of these issues can be solved by getting more DHA in your diet. In this article, we will discuss the benefits of Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and how to increase your intake to improve brain function. By the end of this article, you will understand that if you utilize DHA, then you can improve all areas of your life. So let’s get started discussing DHA.
What is DHA?
DHA is an omega-3 fat that you need to consume from food and supplements. You have to consume it in some way because your body doesn’t produce very much of it. DHA is found in fish such as mackerel, herring, tuna, halibut, and salmon. Other sources can be found in cod liver, whale blubber, and seal blubber. Algae is an additional source of DHA. However, even if you already eat these foods, you can still probably benefit from a DHA supplement.
DHA is essential for mental reasoning, vocabulary, and normal maintenance in adult brains. Therefore it isn’t surprising that DHA is also crucial for the growth and development of the brain in babies and helps improve your brain function. In addition, it is often used for premature babies and in baby formula during the first year. This is because it helps to promote better mental development as well. (1) DHA is also used in infant formula to aid against lung diseases, allergies, and diarrhea. (1) The reason for this is thought to be because DHA is found naturally in breast milk. Now that you know what DHA is, we can discuss more benefits of DHA.
DHA has so many benefits. This is truly a supplement that will change your life if you start taking it. The secret to improving brain function.
Some of these benefits are:
- Decreases Heart Disease
- Improves ADHD
- Reduces Risk of Early Preterm Births
- Fights Inflammation(7)
- Supports Muscle Recovery After Exercise
- Helps Eye Health
- Reduces Cancer (2)
- Prevents or Slows Alzheimer’s
- Lowers Blood Pressure
- Improves Circulation
- Aids Normal Eye and Brain Development in Pregnancy
- Supports Men’s Reproductive Health
- Protects Mental Health
The highest cause of death is cardiovascular disease. Studies have shown a strong correlation between fish consumption and a reduction in sudden death from heart attacks. (4) This is because DHA is commonly used for heart disease and high cholesterol. DHA is used because it decreases the thickness of the blood. Therefore, it also lowers blood levels of triglycerides. (2)
There have also been multiple studies that report reductions in blood pressure when patients consume DHA. There’s some evidence that this effect is greater for people with moderate to severe hypertension than those with mild hypertension. (2)
Many people think that it is only children who are affected by ADHD and ADD. Adults tend to just accept their lack of recall and focus as a struggle that they have. Studies have proven that adults and children afflicted with ADHD both have lower blood levels of DHA. This is a problem because DHA plays a key role in brain function. Many studies testing the effects of DHA supplements in children with ADHD have shown benefits to behavior or attention. (5) In fact, one study involved 40 boys with ADHD. They were given 650 mg each of DHA and EPA daily alongside the children’s usual ADHD medication. This resulted in a 15% decrease in attention problems! (5) Therefore, attention issues may be resolved by taking DHA.
DHA also helps to prevent or improve chronic conditions, certain cancers, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and inflammatory conditions. This is a result of the anti-inflammatory effect that DHA has on our bodies. (8) You may not realize this, but this is very important. Inflammation in the brain is the root of many issues and conditions. These issues range from psychiatric disorders to neurodegenerative diseases. The reason this happens is that once brain inflammation starts, the brain can no longer detox itself properly. However, taking DHA helps improve these issues.
DHA is also essential for sperm health and healthy pregnancy. This includes a reduced risk of preterm births and the proper development of babies’ brains and eyes. (9)
Exercise can cause muscle inflammation. DHA is also known to help reduce muscle soreness. This is partly because of its anti-inflammatory properties. (13)
Another interesting study found that pregnant women with allergies have a reduction in allergies while taking DHA. Symptoms such as phlegm, runny nose, or stuffy nose were reduced by the time their baby was 18 months old when giving DHA.(6)
In addition, DHA is a major factor in eye health for adults. As we age, our vision becomes worse. DHA supplements help to slow the degeneration of the retina. This includes macular degeneration, which is the most common form of blindness in older people. (11) Additionally, studies in people with dry eyes revealed that taking EPA and DHA supplements daily for three months significantly reduced dry eye symptoms by increasing the formation of tear fluid. (12)
Furthermore, the intake of DHA can positively affect mental illnesses. Adequate DHA levels are associated with the risk of depression. The reason for this is that fatty acids support serotonin. Serotonin is a nerve messenger that helps to balance your mood. Fatty acids have anti-inflammatory effects on nerve cells, which may reduce depression risk as well. (13)
If you didn’t have enough reasons to start taking DHA yet, here’s one more. DHA improves the length and quality of your sleep. (13) Research on DHA suggests that it improves sleep quality and sleep quantity in adults. It also resulted in the conclusion that DHA helps you fall asleep more quickly and improves your daytime performance. (13)
Now that we’ve discussed the many benefits of DHA, we will discuss some side effects of it, if you happen to take too much of it.
Side Effects of DHA
There are a few side effects of getting too much DHA. Some of these symptoms are:
- Vitamin A Toxicity
- Acid Reflux
- Low Blood Pressure
- Bleeding Gums and Nosebleeds
Vitamin A toxicity causes side effects like dizziness, nausea, joint pain, and skin irritation.
Acid reflux can be caused by DHA toxicity as well. These symptoms can include belching, nausea and stomach discomfort. Fat has been shown to trigger indigestion in several studies.
Too much DHA can cause bleeding gums and nosebleeds. This is because it inhibits blood clotting. (10) Most surgeons will have you stop taking this supplement before you go in for surgery.
Now that we’ve discussed the side effects that you can experience with too much DHA, let’s discuss the proper amount you should receive daily to improve brain function. However, it is important to keep in mind, you would need to be consuming extremely large amounts of DHA for a long period of time for these side effects to occur.
The recommended dosage for DHA is 200–500 mg daily. You can obtain this from food, supplements or both. (10) The most you can consume while still being safe is 5,000 mg of omega-3 fatty acids per day. (10) If you experience any negative symptoms, simply decrease your intake or switch to food sources instead. Now you know what the proper dosage for DHA is, so we can now summarize everything you have learned in this article.
DHA is a crucial part of the diet. These supplements have been associated with many benefits. However, consuming too much DHA could actually lead to some side effects such as high blood sugar and an increased risk of bleeding. Therefore, you should stay within the recommended dosage. Also, you should try to get the majority of your omega-3 fatty acids from whole food sources. This will help make sure you are getting the most nutrition possible.
Hopefully, after reading this article, you know all about DHA and why it is so important. With DHA, you can really improve all areas of your life. Go ahead and take DHA today! You won’t regret it.