Vitamin Spotlight: DHA
November 20, 2015
Docosahexaenoic acid, commonly referred to as DHA, is a type of omega-3 fatty acid. It is a primary structural component of the human brain, skin and retina, and is essential for healthy functioning throughout life — from pregnancy to infancy and into adulthood. In recent years, doctors and scientists have learned more about the impact of DHA and the benefits that it can provide to an expecting mother and her baby.
How Much DHA Do You Need?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that women get no more than 3 grams of DHA daily from foods containing omega-3 fatty acids, and no more than 2 grams of DHA daily from dietary supplements.1
What are the Benefits of DHA?
In adults, DHA helps with brain function. In 2004 the FDA, along with other nutritional advocacy organizations, announced that there is scientific evidence that DHA, along with other omega-3 fatty acids, may be beneficial in the reduction of coronary heart disease (CHD).1 DHA helps reduce triglycerides in the bloodstream, and high triglycerides are a contributing factor to arterial blockages and CHD.2
DHA is essential for growth and functional development of an infant’s brain, too.2 Plus, the visual acuity of a healthy, full-term, formula-fed infant is increased when his or her formula includes DHA.2
Which Foods Contain DHA?
DHA is found naturally in fish, eggs and meats. Non-marine food sources that contain DHA include nuts, seeds, whole grains and dark leafy vegetables. Oily fish, like mackerel, herring, salmon and trout, typically contain 10-100 times more DHA than non-marine food sources.3
However, women who are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant need to be extremely careful when consuming marine food sources that contain DHA. Many of these fish contain high levels of mercury, and high levels of mercury can be toxic for both pregnant women and developing babies.
Prenatal Vitamins with DHA
One way pregnant women can help meet their daily DHA intake goals and cover nutritional gaps, without risking high mercury consumption, is to take a daily prenatal vitamin with DHA. The Prenate® Vitamin Family offers nutritional support for mothers and their babies for every step of pregnancy and after delivery. Ask your doctor if the Prenate® Vitamin Family is right for you. For your convenience we’ve provided links to the prenatal vitamins with DHA that the Prenate® Vitamin Family offers:
• Prenate® Pixie
• Prenate Mini®
• Prenate® Enhance
• Prenate® Restore
• Prenate DHA®