1 . What Is DHA?
-DHA, also called as Docosahexaenoic acid, is a naturally occurring omega fatty acid that is amongst the most recommended nutrient for pregnant and nursing women.
-Commonly found in the brain, eyes and heart, it plays an important in ensuring that the cells of the brain, heart, eyes and parts of the nervous system develop and function properly through all stages of life.
2 . Why Is It Important For Your Baby During Pregnancy And Lactation?
DHA, makes approximately 30% of the structural fats in the grey matter of the brain and 97% of the total omega-3s in the brain.
-DHA, a critical fatty acid, provides brain- boosting benefits in the infants and adults both.
3 . What Role Does It Play In Infants And Pregnant Mothers?
-DHA plays an important role in the optimal infant brain and eye development during pregnancy.
-Developing infants are unable to efficiently produce their own DHA and therefore they obtain it through the placenta during pregnancy and from breast milk post birth.
-Particularly, during the third trimester, when the brain undergoes major growth, it is recommended to increase the DHA intake.
-DHA helps in improving infant developmental outcomes such as;
4 . What Are The Dietary Sources Of DHA?
Some of the common dietary sources of DHA are:
-Algae are often fed upon by the fish that makes them a rich source for DHA.
-Fatty Fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel and tuna
-Organ Meat such as liver
-Egg yolk and poultry products
-For vegetarians, the best source of DHA is dietary supplements, fortified foods and several commercially available infant formulae.
-It is important to know that flaxseeds, assumed to be a source of DHA, are abundant in ALA (a precursor of DHA).
Dietary Supplements Of DHA
-As the body is unable to make DHA naturally and it is difficult to find in Indian diets, it is generally recommended to take a health drink or nutritional supplement which contains DHA.
-The EFSA Scientific Panel recommends that pregnant and nursing women should consume an additional 100-200 mg DHa daily in addition to the other nutrients needed during pregnancy.