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Benefits of DHA

Mental Health Benefits of DHA
Researchers have noticed that diets high in omega-6 fatty acids but low in omega-3 fatty acids (such as the typical American diet) may increase the risk of depression or other mental health problems. Although early studies suggest that fish oil may be beneficial for depression, one study showed that taking just DHA did not seem to have much of an effect.
Diabetes Benefits of DHA
Research suggests that DHA is probably not useful for the treatment of diabetes. Although people with diabetes may want to take DHA for its possible cardiovascular benefits, DHA does not seem to help with blood sugar.

How Does DHA Work?

DHA is an essential fatty acid, which means that humans must obtain DHA from the diet. DHA is thought to work in a variety of different ways, such as:
  • Inflammation -- DHA seems to decrease inflammation in the body by suppressing a specific enzyme (COX-2) and inflammatory chemicals such as interleukin-1 (IL-1) and tumor necrosis factor (TNF).
  • Triglycerides -- DHA lowers triglyceride levels through several different mechanisms.
  • Blood clotting -- DHA decreases blood viscosity (in common terms, it "thins" the blood) and has effects on red blood cells that may decrease the risk of blood clots.
  • Fetal and infant development -- DHA is important for the development of the brain and neurons.
These are just a few of the ways that researchers think DHA may work for a variety of conditions. As more studies are done, more information about how DHA works will become available.

DHA Use in Children

DHA is safe for children when consumed in normal amounts (such as those found in some infant formulas). However, do not give your child additional DHA (in the form of supplements) without the approval of your child's healthcare provider.
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