Athletes need a mental edge over competitors, and DHA can help by providing structural support for the brain. Just like calcium is needed for strong bones, DHA is needed for strong brains. Of the omega-3 fatty acids, DHA represents about 97 percent of the fats in the brain and 93 percent of the fats in the retina. It is important for optimal brain, eye and nervous system development and may positively influence these functions throughout life.1-11
A strong body of research indicates that infants who receive DHA in utero and early life exhibit improved psychomotor development, mental development, visual acuity and mental processing. 3-5,12-20 DHA is always present in breast milk, indicating that it has an important role in early human development.21-22
DHA also may play an important role in cognitive, mental and visual performance and health later in life. A growing number of observational and clinical studies suggest there is a positive correlation between DHA consumption and certain measures of cognitive performance and memory, visual acuity and health.6-7,9,11,23-31
DHA is a long, fluid, flexible molecule which imparts fluidity and flexibility to cell membranes and which has been shown in animal models to support synaptic transmission of information between brain neurons.32-33 DHA also helps to build the protective coating of nerves, which may influence the speed at which information is acquired and processed.34-35
The evidence supporting the importance of DHA to lifelong brain health suggests that while DHA supplementation may be important for all adults, it may be especially important for athletes who want to optimize visual and mental function.
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