What Is Docosahexaenoic Acid, DHA (22:6 n-3) & What Foods Can I Find It In?

3D-model of Docosahexaenoic acid, DHA (22:6 n-3) (src)

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.

Docosahexaenoic is found in the brain, liver, and retina. It has been speculated that DHA is involved in brain function and the regulation of mood.

Table of Contents

Docosahexaenoic Acid Is An Omega-3 Fatty Acid

Docosahexaenoic is an omega-3 fatty acid found in fish and in particular in oily fish.

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids that the human body cannot synthesize and must therefore be obtained from the diet.

Some omega-3 fatty acids, such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are essential for brain development in infants. They are also involved in other aspects of brain development.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved DHA for use in infant formula and children’s over-the-counter dietary supplements.

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

Docosahexaenoic Acid Conversion From ALA

DHA can be biosynthesized from alpha-linolenic acid, ALA.

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 )

Docosahexaenoic Acid 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 )

Docosahexaenoic Acid 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 )

Foods You Can Find Docosahexaenoic Acid, DHA (22:6 n-3) In

You find Docosahexaenoic Acid, DHA (22:6 n-3) mostly in fats and oil, american indian and alaska native food, and seafood products.

Examples of food sources include

Foods in our nutrition tool

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If you are interested in what foods contain the most Docosahexaenoic Acid, DHA (22:6 n-3) we recommend you visit our tool.

Here's our top-ranked list of foods that contain Docosahexaenoic Acid, DHA (22:6 n-3).

Sara Niemelä

co-founder Care Omnia, Head Content Creator

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Nutrition is my passion. I've spent thousands upon thousands of hours reading, analyzing, categorizing and comparing research studies.

I’m a wife and a mother of three. I enjoy the outdoors, cooking, and spending time with my family.