What is DHA?
Mind Mood Pregnancy Infant development
DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is a very long-chain Omega-3
essential fatty acid because the human body requires DHA but is
unable to make sufficient quantities. DHA must be obtained from
DHA is uniquely important to nerve and brain cells. DHA
increases membrane fluidity, neurotransmitter activity and
improves learning, memory, and cognition. Infants require DHA
for proper brain, eye, and central nervous system development.
Thinking and memory: The role of DHA in maintaining good
brain function, especially as we age, is an exciting, emerging area
of research. Low intake of DHA has been linked to dementia. In
addition, research indicates that people who consume more DHA
over their lifetime have better cognitive function, and maintain
clearer thinking and memory with aging.
Depression and Balanced Mood: DHA plays an important role in
mental well-being related to DHA deficiency, including
depression, bipolar disorder, and suicide risk. Regular fish oil
consumption has also been shown to effectively reduce depression,
anger, aggression, and anxiety. The American Psychiatric
Association Omega-3 subcommittee recommends a minimum of 1
gram EPA + DHA for mood and psychological conditions, and
more as indicated.
Pregnancy and Lactation: DHA from fish oil is an essential nutrient
that is required during pregnancy and breast-feeding. DHA is
required for proper development of the brain, eyes, and nerve and
immune system during fetal development and into the first few
years of life. Cod liver oil is naturally rich in DHA. Research
shows that mothers who take cod liver oil have healthier deliveries,
and their children have higher academic achievements at age four.
And there is more good news for mom; taking fish oil may reduce
Fish oil may be the safest choice for getting enough DHA during
pregnancy. The FDA and Environmental Protection Agency advise
pregnant and breast-feeding women to limit fish intake during the
time when the nutritional need for Omega-3s is the highest. When
choosing a fish oil supplement it’s important that it is fresh,
molecularly distilled, and guaranteed pure and free of environment
What is GLA?
Healthy Skin Arthritis Inflammation
In general, Western diets contain too few Omega-3 fats and too
many Omega-6 fats. Over consumption of Omega-6 fats results in
chronic inflammation. One exception is GLA (gamma-linolenic
acid), a different type of Omega-6. GLA , found in borage oil and
evening primrose oil, is the building block of another beneficial
eicosanoid that helps reduce unwanted inflammation. Adequate
amounts of GLA are not made by the body and must be consumed
through the diet of supplementation.
All essential fats are good for the skin, but GLA in particular
supports optimal skin health. GLA smoothes and protects the skin,
and reduces eczema and other inflammatory skin eruptions. For
decades, GLA has been used by women to alleviate premenstrual
and menopausal symptoms. GLA is also helpful for arthritis. GLA
works better when taken with EPA and DHA from fish oil.
Children and EPA, DHA, & GLA
Fish oil combined with GLA has been shown to improve behavior,
focus, and learning in children. Children with attention Deficit
Disorder (ADD) have lower levels of Omega-3s, and
supplementing with fish oil + GLA has been shown to help them.
Fish oil with GLA appears to help infants and children with
functional and social problems. In addition, research has shown
that a blend of EPA, DHA, and GLA can improve language and
learning in children with autism and Asperger’s syndrome.
Most children are deficient in Omega-3s because they do not
regularly consume Omega-3-rich foods such as fish.
Supplementation with EFAs is a safe and effective way to improve
overall health and contribute to your child’s mental, social and
For research on Omega-3s
What do EFAs help with?
Heart disease Arthritis Inflammation Asthma Infant
development (brain, eyes, immune, nervous system) Pregnancy
Depression Language and learning Attention and focus Cognition
Dementia Aggression and anger Immune function Diabetes
Weight management Dry Eye Syndrome Vision Prostate Health
Colon health Osteoporosis Longevity
When Diet Is Not Enough
Satisfying the daily recommendation (500mg of EPA and DHA) of
EFAs through diet has become difficult due to the growing
concerns of environmental toxins in fish. The predominance of
foods high in Omega-6 fats such as vegetable oils, processed
foods, and meat increases the requirement of Omega-3 is necessary
for optimal health. The average American ratio is 15:1.
In addition to insufficient intake of Omega-3 rich foods in the
Western diet, other factors inhibit absorption of essential fats
Low levels of key vitamins ands minerals
A poor diet, high in saturated and trans fats
Research shows that the safest and most reliable source of Omega-
3 fats is a high quality fish oil supplement. This means a
supplement that is fresh, molecularly distilled, and guaranteed pure
and free of environment contaminants.
Omega-3 from Fish or Flax?
Omega-3 fatty acids fall into two major categories: plant-derived
(flax seed, containing the shorter chain fatty acid alpha-linolenic
acid, or ALA ) and marine-derived (fish oil, containing longer
chain EPA and DHA). Major government amd national
organization agree that the evidence is strongest for EPA and DHA.
While it was once throught that humans could convert the plant
source (AFA) into the longer chain EPA and DHA, current research
shows that such converison rarely occurs, if at all.
Questions & Answers
Can fish and GLA be taken with other supplements?
Yes. Fish oil and GLA can be taken with other dietary
supplements. Purified fish oil and GLA provide necessary
nutrients, and are convenient, well tolerated, and safe to use every
Will esssential fats interfere with my medical condition or
It is recommended to check with your health care practitioner if
taking blood thinning medications or anticipating surgery. Fish oils
are very safe. In some cases, fish oil has been shown to improve
the effectiveness of other medications.
How long before I see results?
It depends on your nutritional status, the amount of fish oil you
take, and your particular health condition. Some people feel
results within a few days, and for others it takes a few weeks. Your
nutritional state will improve right away, but it may take a few
weeks to feel a change in specific symptoms. Be sure to
Will I experience any side effects?
Generally no. Rarely, people report mild stomach upset or loose
stools, but this goes away with time, and typically diminishes when
consumed with food.
What should I look for when choosing a fish oil supplements?
Freshness is key to good taste, no fishy repeat, and receiving the
well-documented health benefits. Choose a fish oil product in
natural triglyceride form that is third-party tested for freshness and
purity, and guaranteed to free of environment contaminants.
Some products say they are in the natural triglyceride form and
some in the synthetic ethyl ester form. What is the difference?
To concentrate EPA and DHA in a fish oil product the natural
triglyceride molecule is dismantled and the desired fatty acids are
concentrated. The manufacturer can either (1) er-assemble the
tirglyceride molecule or (2) treat the fatty acid mixture with ethyl
alcohol to create an ethyl ester molecule. Ethyl ester fatty acids do
not occur naturally in the human diet. Therefore, you may wish to
seek a fish oil in its natural triglyceride form.
What is EPA?
Cardiovascular health Arthritis Inflammation
EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) is a long-chain Omega-3
polyunsaturated fatty acid because the human body requires EPA
but is unable to make sufficient quantities. EPA must be obtained
from the diet.
EPA improves heart health and immune function, and is benefical
for autoimmune and inflammatory diorders, including arthritis,
asthma, and inflammatory bowel disease.
Hearh Health: EPA has been shown to support cardiovascular
health. Research has shown that fish oil reduces triglycerides,
improve circulation, manages blood pressure, supports the body’s
anti-inflammatory response, and may prevent heart attacks. In fact,
the evidence is so strong that the America heart association (AHA)
published recommendations on Omega-3s and cadiovascular
disease. The AHA recommends that people with heart disease
consune a minimun of 1 gram of EPA and DHA combined per day,
and those with high triglycerides consume 2-4 grams. In addition ,
heart disease is a predominant risk to individules with diabetes,
and fish oil has been shown to decreases these risks.
Arthritis and Joint health: Fish oil supports the body’s natural anti-
inflamammatory response, and can reduce joint pain and swelling.
Within joint and muscle tissue, EPA sitmulates the production of
beneficial eicosanoids that naturally reduce inflammation.
Although it may take a few days or weeks to feel a lessening of
symptoms, fish oil have proven to be a healthly and effective
choice with no adverse side effects. Research shows it’s best to
begin with therapeutic amounts of fish oil, about 2-3 grams of EPA
and DHA, and later rebuce the amount for maintanance.
What are EFAs?
EFAs or Essential Fatty Acids, are they “good’’ polyunsaturated
fats that play a major role in health and vitality.
EFAs are considered “essential fats” because they are required for
good health but cannot be produced by our bodies. Research has
determined that in order to prevent deficiency and foster optimal
health, EFAs must be consumed daily. There are to families of
essential fats: Omega-3 and Omega-6. Proper cell function is
dependent on a balanced intake of these fats. The overbundance of
Omega-6 fats (from refined vegetable oils, processed foods, and
meat) in the Western diet dramatically upset this delicate balance.
Exces Omega-6 fats, and a relative deficiency of Omega-3 fats, are
contributing factors to many chronic health conditions such as
heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and depression. According to
research, the most beneficial EFAs are the Omega-3s,
eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA),
and the unique and beneficial Omega-6 fat, gamma-linolenic acid
Why are EFAs important?
Essential fats are the body’s building blocks for producing
beneficial compounds called eicosanoids. Eicosanoids exist in
every human cell, and impact the function of all bodily systems.
Eicosanoids manage blood pressure, support good circulation, and
regulate pain by supporting the body’s natural anti-inflammatory
response. EFAs are also vital structural components of cell
membranes that surround and protect all cells in the body.
The US Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 recommends
consuming more Omega-3 intake is far below levels necessary for
optimal health and prevention of chronic dieease.
Where are EFAs found?
The best sources of the Omega-3 fats, EPA and DHA, are ciod
water fish such as sardines, anchoives, salmon, and herring. The
beneficial Omega-6, GLA, is found in borage and evening