DHA: DHA and DHA Xtra
DHA: DHA and DHA Xtra
DHA: DHA and DHA Xtra
DHA: DHA and DHA Xtra
DHA: DHA and DHA Xtra

DHA: DHA and DHA Xtra

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DHA: DHA and DHA Xtra

From Ed Dratz, Professor at Montana State Univ. PhD in biophysical chemistry at Berkeley and 2 years postdoctoral research on molecular biology at MIT:

"The brain and nervous system have high requirements for omega-3 fatty acids and if the omega-6 fatty acids are too high the omega-6 displaces the lesser amounts of omega-3. The brain does not function well with too little omega-3. The best source of highly bioactive, long chain omega-3, called DHA and EPA, is ocean fish. Some seeds including flax, chia and camelina have very good short chain omega-3 (called ALA) and low omega-6, but the omega-3 in flax is quite unstable, turning rancid easily. Flax seeds should be ground and used fresh, or the oil must be stored refrigerated for no more than about 30 days.

DHA makes up 50% of the synaptic ending membranes, that are the "active sites" in a healthy brain and if DHA is insufficient this tends to lead to increased anxiety, depression and cognitive decline If people are vegans, they can obtain DHA and EPA from companies that produce it in algae. If people can use the fish source of DHA and EPA, these are available quite inexpensively in purified form that purifies away any mercury or other possible contaminants. Unpurified fish oils contain fats that are not as desirable as the omega-3s, and it is difficult to know the quality of different fish oil products, so the purified forms of DHA and EPA are by far the best. Krill oil is heaviy advertised as a source of omega-3s, and is well absorbed, but the capsules sold contain very low doses. To obtain a desirable 450-900 milligarm (mg) of DHA per day would cost perhaps $6-$12/day, whereas the purified DHA and EPA from an excellent company, called Nordic Naturals, costs about $0.25/day.

It should be noted that EPA is strongly anti-inflammatory and lowers the production and activity of immune cells. If one is having problems with bacterial or viral illness, they should cut EPA intake way down or cut out to enhance their immune system, temporarily, until they feel better. In that case the algae-derived DHA is the best solution, such as available from The Garden of Life, as it can be converted to small amounts of EPA in our bodies, without significantly lowering our immune function. It should also be mentioned that EPA acts as a "blood thinner". If people are taking blood thinning pharmaceuticals, the use of these supplements should be monitored and probably reduced. It is crucial for pregnant and nursing mothers to ingest high levels of DHA to support brain development of their children. Furthermore, if the mother does not have sufficient DHA to provide to the fetus, the fetus tends to drain DHA from the mother, often leading to postpartum depression. There is a wide range of mother's DHA levels in different countries and a strong correlation of low DHA and high postpartum depression, as shown in the next slide.

Correlation of the incidence of postpartum depression and the levels of DHA in the mother in different countries. Asian countries have much higher DHA and lower postpartum depression. European countries and the US are much lower in DHA and higher in postpartum depression. There are other factors too as South Africa, Germany and Australia are higher than the trend line and US is lower. Studies show that about 25% of the women in the US are on antidepressant pharmaceuticals and that might contribute to lowering the postpartum depression to some extent.

It is very important to be aware that most prenatal nutritional supplements contain insufficient DHA (often ten or more too low). Therefore, additional DHA and EPA supplements are strongly recommended in addition to prenatal supplements for pregnant and nursing women.

Possible Question: Is there a possible concern about taking too much DHA?"

General answer: I have not found reports of toxicity from high levels of DHA. The 450 mg/day level is recommended by WHO. If children seem to be responding well to the DHA, as they do in many of the cases tested, it seems that double and even eventually triple this amount is safe. The purified DHA capsules contain 225 mg of DHA and it is best to change the level slowly, one capsule at a time. Once a condition of concern seems mitigated after a few months, the amount per day should be able to be cut back to the 450 mg/day. Also the level of EPA should not be too high to avoid calming the immune system too much.

Commercial meats are very high in omega-6, because the animals are largely fed high omega-6 low omega-3 corn and soy. People are often advised to eat more chicken and turkey to obtain essential amino acids, but commercial fowl are now the leading source of pro inflammatory fatty acids in the Standard American Diet, the SAD! Organic meat sources are usually also high in omega-6, because they are typically fed organic corn and soy, which contain the same deleterious high omega-6 and low omega-3. Only grass-fed animals and wild game have a close to ideal omega-6/omega-3 ratio of 2.5 (2.5 omega-6 for each omega-3), which is by far the best balance in the ratio of omega-6 and omega-3. Some countries, such as in South America, have a much higher availability of grass-fed meats."