Helping Healthy Brains: The Importance of DHA
4 min read
When it comes to supporting your little one’s healthy brain development, DHA has an important role to play. It’s especially important for your child during pregnancy and their first few years of life, which is a period of rapid growth and development.
But what is DHA? Why is it important, and how can you help your child get enough of it?
Docosahexaenoic Acid (commonly known as DHA) is an omega-3 fatty acid known. It’s found all throughout the body but is the main fatty acid found in your child’s retinas and brain (1).
Recognised as an essential nutrient, DHA is vital for the maintenance of your child’s optimal health (2).
DHA makes up approximately 97% of all omega-3 fatty acids in the brain and 93% of omega-3 fatty acids in the retinas (³). It’s considered to be a major structural fat in that regard³ and therefore plays a well-established role in the growth and function of the brain(1, 4, 5).
DHA is important for cognitive development (2,6) especially during your child’s first years of life.
Distributed across the cerebral cortex, neuronal membranes and the retina, DHA is deposited at an accelerated rate during the last trimester of pregnancy and during the first two years of life (2,6).
The brain tissue content of DHA is important for supporting brain system development and function.
This can start in your little one as early as six months of age, but continues all throughout childhood and well into adolescence (1, 2, 6).
The key functions of DHA for babies and children are:
DHA is primarily found in oily fish, such as salmon and tinned tuna, mackerel and sardines.
Although seafood is the main dietary source of omega-3 DHA, it’s common for picky eaters to reject or avoid these fatty fish.
In fact, it’s suggested that up to 80% off Australian children don’t consume any fish as part of their diet.
So, you may need to get creative when it comes to supporting your little one’s adequate DHA intake. Try sneaking canned salmon or tuna in quiches, frittatas, or omelettes or crumb homemade fish fingers and bake them in the oven.
The information provided in reference to this ingredient is general in nature and provided as information only. Any product specific therapeutic claims for this ingredient are linked to specific dosage requirements based on evidence of traditional or scientific nature.
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