Docosahexanoic acid or DHA is one of the omega-3 fatty acid compounds that are important for the development of children's organs from the time they are in the womb, especially the brain and eyes. DHA is naturally found in breast milk and various types of fish, such as tuna, salmon, mackerel, and sardines.
As technology develops, DHA is formulated into milk for pregnancy, infants, or children. In addition, DHA is also combined with other vitamins and minerals in supplements intended for pregnant women. In addition to pregnant women, DHA supplements are believed to reduce triglyceride levels and increase good cholesterol (HDL) levels in people with high cholesterol, reduce the risk of macular degeneration, and reduce the risk of death from coronary heart disease.
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Nutritional Adequacy Rate
There is no specific recommendation for consuming DHA per day. There is a recommendation for children up to 1 year of age, which is 0.5 g per day, but the recommendation is for omega-3s as a whole. The maximum recommended limit is 3 g of a combination of EPA and DHA per day, with 2 g of it obtained from food.
|Consumed by||Adults and children|
|Pregnancy and breastfeeding category||Category N: Not yet categorized. DHA supplements are safe for consumption by pregnant or lactating women, if the supplements are intended for pregnant women, and consumed according to the information on the packaging or according to doctor's recommendations.|
|Drug form||Soft capsules and milk (powder and liquid)|
- Pregnant or breastfeeding women can take DHA supplements according to doctor's advice.
- DHA has the risk of causing respiratory problems in people who are allergic to aspirin.
- Avoid taking fish oil supplements (which contain DHA), more than 3 grams per day, because they can increase the risk of bleeding.
- Please be careful when taking DHA supplements if you have diabetes, liver disease, heart rhythm disorders (arrhythmias), thyroid hormone disorders, pancreatic disorders, or phenylketonuria.
- Avoid taking DHA supplements if you have or will consume alcoholic beverages that day.
- Tell your doctor about any other medicines you are taking, including herbal products.
- If an allergic reaction or overdose occurs after taking DHA supplements, see a doctor immediately.
It is recommended to increase the consumption of fish, such as salmon, sardines, tuna, or mackerel, if you want to increase your DHA intake.
DHA is often given together eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) in the form of fish oil. The usual dose of fish oil is 1 gram, consisting of 150-600 milligrams of EPA and 100-350 milligrams of DHA.
The use of DHA in the form of formula milk for infants and children should be adjusted to the information listed on each milk product packaging.
Pregnant or lactating women should take supplements that are specifically designed for pregnant or lactating women, according to the information listed on the product packaging or as recommended by a doctor.
Using DHA Correctly
Follow your doctor's recommendations and read the information listed on the packaging of supplements containing DHA before starting to take them.
DHA in capsule form for pregnant women should be taken with food. Capsules must be swallowed whole. Do not chew or crush the capsule before taking it.
Make sure that there is sufficient time between one dose and the next. For patients who forget to take DHA supplements, it is advisable to take them as soon as they remember, if the time lag with the next dose is not too close. Do not double the dose of DHA at the next schedule to make up for the missed dose.
Consult your doctor first if you want to take DHA for the long term.
Store DHA supplements at room temperature and in a closed container out of the sun, and out of the reach of children.
DHA supplements may cause unwanted interactions if they are taken with the following medicines:
- Blood-thinning medications (anticoagulants or antiplatelet agents such as aspirin): increase the risk of bleeding.
- Blood pressure medication: enhances blood pressure lowering effect.
- Birth control pills: interfere with the effectiveness of DHA in lowering triglycerides.
- Orlistat: decreases DHA absorption.
- Vitamin E: lowers vitamin E levels.
DHA Side Effects
DHA supplements are generally safe when taken according to the directions on the package or as recommended by a doctor, but there is a risk of side effects, such as:
- Stomach pain.
- Throw up.
- Bleeding, can be bruising to vomiting blood.