Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is a type of omega-3 fatty acid. It is key to healthy brain function and eye health. It can help to reduce inflammation and the risk of chronic diseases, like heart disease. DHA supplements often include EPA in fish oil, but are also available as solo capsules.

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All you need to know about DHA

What is DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)?

DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid found in oily fish including herring, halibut, tuna, mackerel, salmon and cod. It can also be found in whale and seal blubber and algae. DHA supplements are used to treat conditions such as high cholesterol and hyperlipidemia (lipids in the blood). It has also been suggested that DHA can help cognitive function and memory skills in children. DHA is a substance that is important in the development of nerve and eye tissue, and can also reduce the risk of heart and blood/circulation issues because of its ability to act as a blood thinner.

How much DHA should I be taking?

DHA is commonly combined with EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) in fish oil capsules, which are the most common type of supplements taken for extra DHA and EPA dosage. 72-312mg of DHA and 169-563 mg of EPA are typical doses. You can also get additional DHA by increasing your oily fish intake and eating more fish such as tuna, halibut or mackerel. If you have high levels of cholesterol, 0.8 to 4.0g of DHA is recommended as a dose, for no more than 8 weeks at a time.

What are the side effects of DHA?

Side effects of DHA are mild, but common complaints are bruising and bleeding (especially in those with circulatory and blood conditions), and gastrointestinal problems such as loose stools, excessive gas and digestive discomfort.

Does fish oil help you lose weight?

It has been suggested by researchers in Japan that fish oils containing DHA and EPA can help you to burn fat more quickly, leading to weight loss as part of a healthy calorie-controlled diet. You should always consult your GP first before using any supplement, and before commencing any new diet regime.

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