Docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, is a type of omega-3 fat. Like the omega-3 fat eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), DHA is plentiful in oily fish, such as salmon and anchovies. Your body can only make a small amount of DHA from other fatty acids, so you need to consume it directly from food or a supplement . Together, DHA and EPA may help reduce inflammation and your risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease. On its own, DHA supports brain function and eye health.
- Reduces Heart Disease Risk
Omega-3 fats are commonly recommended for heart health. The majority of studies test DHA and EPA combined rather than individually. The few studies that test DHA alone suggest that it may be more effective than EPA for improving several markers of heart health .
Omega-3 fats such as DHA have anti-inflammatory effects. Increasing your DHA intake can help balance the excess of inflammatory omega-6 fats that is typical of Western diets rich in soybean and corn oil.
DHA’s anti-inflammatory properties may reduce your risk of chronic diseases that are common with age, such as heart and gum disease, and improve autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, which causes joint pain.
3.Supports Muscle Recovery After Exercise
Strenuous exercise can trigger muscle inflammation and soreness. DHA — alone or in combination with EPA — may help reduce muscle soreness and limitations in range of motion after exercise, partly due to its anti-inflammatory effects.
- Helps Some Eye Conditions
It’s uncertain whether DHA and other omega-3 fats help age-related macular degeneration (AMD) as once thought, but they may improve dry eyes and diabetic eye disease (retinopathy). DHA is an omega-3 fat that you should consume from food, supplements or both, as your body doesn’t produce much of it.
It may help prevent or improve chronic conditions, such as heart disease, certain cancers, Alzheimer’s disease, depression and inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. DHA is also essential for sperm health and a healthy pregnancy, including a reduced risk of preterm births and the proper development of babies’ brains and eyes. In children, it may improve ADHD symptoms.