The Importance of DHA in the Diet
Americans Do Not Consume Enough DHA
On average, the typical American diet contains less than 100mg of DHA per day, well below the 220mg of DHA/day that is recommended by one expert body. Fortunately, as research continues to demonstrate the importance of DHA, foods fortified with DHA are becoming increasingly available making it easier to include in your diet.
How much DHA do you consume? Find out now!
How Much DHA Should You Consume?
Several expert bodies around the world have made recommendations for DHA intake among various populations.
Pregnant and Nursing Women
300mg/day of DHA for pregnant and lactating women was the recommendation by a workshop sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids (NIH/ISSFAL).
A workshop sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids (NIH/ISSFAL), a joint Expert Committee of the World Health Organization and Food and Agriculture Organization (WHO/FAO) and the Child Health Foundation have all recommended the inclusion of DHA and ARA in infant formula.
Children and Adults
- 220mg/day of DHA for healthy adults was the recommended intake recommended by a workshop sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids (NIH/ISSFAL).
While the FDA does not have a regulation establishing a recommended daily intake for DHA, the agency has not objected to the use of 160mg/day as a daily value for DHA.
Learn more About DHA for Children
Learn more About DHA for Adults
Dietary Sources of DHA
Dietary sources of DHA include:
- Algae - Certain algae are natural sources of DHA. While most people believe that fish produce their own DHA, in fact, it’s the algae in their food chain that makes them a rich source of DHA.
- life'sDHA, produced from algae, is a natural vegetarian source of DHA. life'sDHA is currently available in dietary supplements, foods and beverages, and is added to over 99% of infant formula sold in the U.S.
- Fatty fish including anchovies, salmon, herring, mackerel, tuna and halibut organ meat such as liver.
- Eggs naturally contain small amounts of DHA, but new DHA enriched eggs can contain up to 150mg of DHA per egg.
- DHA fortified foods, beverages and supplements – click here to view products containing life'sDHA.
Does flaxseed oil contain DHA?
Flaxseed oil is a source of alpha-linolenic acid, ALA, a precursor of DHA. ALA is a source of energy, but there are no known independent benefits of ALA on brain, eye or heart development and function. While the human body can convert ALA to DHA it occurs at a rate of less than 1%, so it is best to consume preformed DHA directly for the health benefits.