DHA: What is it, and why do we need it?
The human body can make most types of fats it needs from other fats or raw materials. Not so for Omega-3 fatty acids; humans must get them from food. DHA is one form of Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (Omega-3’s), which are crucial for normal metabolism and are known for their monumental health benefits, including:
reducing risk of heart disease
supporting healthy brain function
helping to lower blood pressure and inflammation
bolstering muscle recovery
aiding circulation throughout the body
improving visual and neurological development in infants
Mammals are unable to synthesize Omega-3’s, and in foods exposed to air, unsaturated fatty acids are vulnerable to oxidation and rancidity.
Three Types of Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids:
ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) is found in plant sources, such as soybean oil, flaxseed oil, leafy vegetables and walnuts. ALA is a forerunner for both EPA and DHA, although less than 1% converts to EPA and DHA, and tends to decrease with age
EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) is sourced from coldwater fish, which include salmon, sardines, anchovies, tuna and herring.
DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which also found in marine oils, is the most critical for humans. DHA is the primary Omega-3 fat in your brain and is essential for a functional nervous system, helping lower blood pressure, and supporting circulation throughout the body.
Where does DHA come from?
Omega-3s are one of the most studied nutrients of all time, with approximately 30,000 scientific publications linking them to a number of different health benefits. In all stages of life, DHA is required for healthy brain function. DHA is often found in cold-water fish, but DHA is initially synthesized by microalgae. Phytoplankton consume the microalgae, and then fish consume the phytoplankton. The fish will accumulate the Omega-3s that existed in the tissues of the phytoplankton. Solar Flare uses DHA extracted from algae to ensure they are using the most environmentally friendly, efficient DHA possible.
What are the current dietary options for DHA?
While some people get their Omega-3’s from fish, that isn’t a viable option for everyone. One alternative that exists in the market is Omega-3 supplements (see above image). However, these have their own side-effects, the most common of which is extreme nausea. In fact, one founder of Solar Flare cannot take an Omega-3 pill without vomiting! In recent history, food companies have been creating and marketing foods that are supplemented with Omega-3s (such as the Silk Milk on the right). However, those typically use ALA as the source for Omega-3s. While ALA is easy to incorporate in food, it gets converted into DHA at less than a 1% efficiency rate, so they are not particularly effective as a DHA source.
How does Solar Flare help?
Solar Flare have developed a novel method to stabilize DHA extracted directly from algae to get the most efficient form of DHA possible to the consumer. Because Solar Flare is not using ALA, they are able to supply the consumer with more of the health benefits that come directly from that DHA that most other foods on the market with Omega-3s incorporated. To follow a healthy diet, an adult should consume between 1.1g and 1.6g of DHA per day. Solar Flare’s Brainstorm Bar offers the recommended daily dosage of DHA in a single bar.
This whitepaper is intended for educational purposes and does not replace individual medical advice.
“Cis-4,7,10,13,16,19-Docosahexaenoic Acid.” Glentham Life Sciences | GK8776 - Sodium Silicate Solution (1344-09-8), www.glentham.com/en/products/product/GK0953/.
“Fact: Not All Omega-3s Are Created Equal.” Omega 3s, Always a Good Idea, alwaysomega3s.com/learn/epa-dha-ala-omega-3s.
“Omega-3 Fatty Acid.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 31 Dec. 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omega-3_fatty_acid.
“Omega-3 Fatty Acids: An Essential Contribution.” The Nutrition Source, 4 June 2018, www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/fats-and-cholesterol/types-of-fat/omega-3-fats/.