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What Is Docosahexaenoic Acid, DHA?

Docosahexaenoic acid, DHA, 22:6 (n-3), is an omega-3 fatty acid. DHA is either obtained from the diet or converted in small amounts from eicosapentaenoic acid, EPA. Via docosapentaenoic acid, DPA, as an intermediate.

DHA can be biosynthesized from alpha-linolenic acid, but this does not appear to be very efficient, and it's hard to get enough DHA needed through ALA.

DHA In The Brain And Eyes

Docosahexaenoic acid, DHA, is a polyunsaturated very long-chain omega 3 fatty acid. It is metabolically related to other n-3 fatty acids. (source 🗗)

DHA is found in high concentrations in the human brain and eye, where it is linked to better development and function. (source 🗗)

You can find all benefits of DHA in Docosahexaenoic Acid, DHA (22:6 n-3 ): 11 Research-Backed Benefits .

DHA Convertion From ALA

DHA can be biosynthesized from alpha-linolenic acid. But it does not appear to be very efficient in many individuals. But the conversion of ALA to DHA is much better in young women than in young men. Infants may be more efficient converters of ALA to DHA than many adults. (source 🗗)

DHA Is So Important For Infants

DHA is abundant in human breast milk. Rarely is DHA added to infant formulas, which is a large problem. (source 🗗)

Many infants have been fed formula diets lacking DHA and other important omega-3 fatty acids. DHA deficiencies are associated with problems like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). But also cystic fibrosis, phenylketonuria, depression, and aggressive hostility. (source 🗗)

DHA In Food

DHA is found in large quantities in fatty fish, like salmon, tuna, mackerel. At lower levels, you find DHA in meat and eggs.

Fatty, oily fish is one of the best sources of DHA.

If you are interested in a list of foods where you can find this nutrient. Go to our nutrition tool and check out docosahexaenoic acid.

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Sara Niemelä

co-founder Care Omnia, Head Content Creator


I’m a wife and a mother of three. I enjoy the outdoors, cooking, and spending time with my family. Nutrition is my passion. I have spent thousands upon thousands of hours reading, analyzing, categorizing and comparing research studies. Nutrition is the foundation you build a healthy and fulfilling life upon!