The Importance of DHA
We’ve been reading a lot about the importance of DHA as “brain food” for children and adults, alike, but what exactly is DHA?
DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid, is an essential Omega-3 fatty acid found naturally in foods like salmon, tuna and other coldwater fish, as well as flax and pumpkin seeds. Most children and toddlers’ diets (not to mention many adults’ diets) lack sufficient quantities of these foods, which is why trusted pediatrician Dr. Sears recommends adding a DHA supplement to your child’s diet.
When the body lacks essential Omega-3 fatty acids, the cells try to build “replacement fatty acids,” which are similar in function but may cause depression and Attention Deficit Disorder. A diet rich in DHA lowers the blood level of these replacement fatty acids and also of harmful fats such as cholesterol.
So how did DHA earn its reputation as “brain food?” According to Dr. Sears, DHA is the primary structural component of brain tissue, as well as an important part of the enzymes within cell membranes that allow the membranes to transport valuable nutrients in and out of the cells. DHA also affects the brain’s neurotransmitters, and helps brain cells communicate with each other more effectively. Simply put, a healthy brain is a smart brain!
A diet rich in DHA has been shown to improve focus, behavior and cognitive function, and even increase learning capacity in young children. Children who are more focused and can concentrate better also tend to remain in better moods longer — less tantrums and more time to play, study and learn!
DHA also helps vision development because the retina contains a high concentration of the fatty acid. Improved vision development also leads to greater learning capabilities, since the eyes are such important tools in education.
When the body has enough DHA, the brain can function at its highest capacity. This is especially important in infants and toddlers, because brains grow more rapidly in the first few years than at any other time of life. Evidence shows that the increased academic performance of breast-fed children is due, at least in part, to the DHA-rich diet breast milk provides. Breast milk contains DHA for growing infants, and most infant formula today is fortified with DHA. But toddlers don’t receive DHA from these sources, which is why a supplement is important. Dr. Sears offers a variety of vitamin products to insure that your child is getting enough of the crucial fatty acid.
Dr. Sears’ specially-developed Go Fish Brainy Kidz Omega-3 DHA natural fruit-based soft chews contain optimal levels of DHA for improved brain function. Each soft chew contains 100 mg of DHA and is certified by Safe Source ™ to be free of detectable levels of over 250 environmental contaminants, including mercury, heavy metals, dioxins, PCBs and pesticides. The pediatrician-developed, kid-approved, tasty vitamin supplements are all-natural and do not contain any high-fructose corn syrup.