Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA)

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is a long-chain polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acid found in fish and marine microorganisms and plants. It has the chemical name of all-cis-4,7,10,13,16,19-docosahexaenoic acid, with a formula C22H32O2 and a lipid name of 22:6 (n-3).

Docosahexaenoic acid is the primary fatty acid in the phospholipids in the retina and brain, and is required for proper brain development and function as well as being necessary for visual acuity. Higher level of DHA have been shown to reduce triglycerides and increase the particle size of low density lipoproteins (LDL) - the 'bad' cholesterol - which has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease.

Low levels of docosahexaenoic acid in the blood have been shown to be related to low serotonin levels  in the brain (which can affect mood), and have also been associated with Alzheimer's disease. In addition, studies have suggested that children who suffer from attention deficit disorder (ADD) appear to have low levels of DHA. Research has also indicated that DHA can kill cancer cells, whilst other studies suggest that it can help to inhibit cancer.