Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA): A Detailed Review

Medically Reviewed on 7/28/2022
Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA)
Salmon contains the most DHA of any seafood, although it is abundant in other cold-water fish and seaweed.

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an omega-3 fatty acid found mostly in cold-water fish, such as salmon and tuna. Seaweed is an excellent vegetarian source of DHA. Algae has some DHA but not as much as fish.

  • Fish are high in healthful fats, which help maintain cardiovascular health.
  • While eating too many saturated fats might contribute to cardiac problems, healthy fats can assist to prevent cardiovascular disease.
  • Consuming low-mercury fish is a healthier alternative to red meat.

To improve health, everyone should use a DHA vitamin in their regular regimen. However, getting the correct kinds of DHA from your supplement is just as crucial.

7 common sources of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)

  1. Salmon
    • Salmon contains the most DHA of any seafood, ranging from 2000 to 3000 mg per 6-ounce plate.
    • Wild salmon has more fish oil than farm-raised salmon. The Atlantic salmon is the best species to pick although coho, pink, and sockeye salmon are all wonderful options.
  2. Bluefin or albacore tuna
    • Fresh bluefin tuna has the greatest DHA content of any tuna kind.
    • Canned tuna is a good source and may be less expensive.
  3. The swordfish
    • This fish has 1390 mg of DHA per 6-ounce serving.
    • Cook the fish at low heat, such as baking or grilling.
    • Swordfish is not suggested for pregnant women or children because it may contain increased amounts of mercury from ocean toxins.
  4. Sardines, anchovies, and herring
    • Each 3-ounce container of these little fish contains up to 840 mg of omega-3 fatty acids.
    • European anchovies canned in oil have more DHA than raw anchovies.
    • The DHA content of the Atlantic herring is higher than the Pacific herring. Sardines have the least quantity of DHA of the three.
  5. Caviar or fish roe
    • These delicacies have the highest concentrations of DHA per serving.
    • Caviar from black and red fish has 3.8 mg per 100 grams. Depending on the species, fish roe can contain between 1.3 and 1.7 mg per 100-gram serving amount.
  6. Algae
    • Algae is a source of DHA omega-3 fatty acids that vegans may use, and it is available as a supplement.
  7. Infant formula and breastmilk
    • Mother's milk is the most significant source of DHA for young infants.
    • If breast milk is not available, baby formula that contains DHA can be fed to infants.
    • Baby formula producers have realized the importance of DHA in the development of infants’ brains and have begun to incorporate it into many of their products.


According to the USDA, there is no difference between a “portion” and a “serving.” See Answer

5 health benefits of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)

  1. Reduces blood pressure
    • DHA promotes blood circulation and increases endothelial function and blood vessel flexibility.
    • A meta-analysis of 20 research discovered that DHA and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) can reduce blood pressure in distinct ways.
    • DHA lowered diastolic blood pressure by 3.1 mmHg on average, whereas EPA reduced systolic blood pressure by 3.8 mmHg.
  2. Reduces risk of cancer
    • Anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3 fats, particularly DHA, lower the risk of various forms of cancer, including colorectal, pancreatic, breast, and prostate cancer in males.
    • On the cellular level, DHA suppresses the proliferation of cancer cells, increasing the efficacy of chemotherapy-based cancer treatment.
  3. Anti-inflammatory properties
    • Omega-3 fatty acids and DHA have powerful anti-inflammatory properties because they can repair and regenerate cell membranes.
    • The presence of omega-3 fats helps balance the generated omega-6 fats, which is one of the elements that contribute to the formation of inflammatory foci.
    • DHA's anti-inflammatory characteristics may lower the risk of various chronic diseases, including age-related disorders, such as cardiovascular and gum disease, and autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
  4. Reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases
    • Studies report that DHA is most beneficial when paired with EPA, and DHA can more effectively enhance cardiovascular health than EPA.
    • A study with 154 people with obesity who took 2,700 mg DHA daily for 10 weeks found a substantial improvement in the total blood omega-3 fatty acid index. Omega-3 fatty acids in the blood have an essential function, lowering the incidence of stroke by roughly 5.6 percent among research participants.
    • DHA reduces bad cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol) and increases good cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol), reducing the risk of various heart diseases.
  5. Improves vision

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

Medically Reviewed on 7/28/2022
Image Source: iStock image

Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) - Uses, Side Effects, and More.

Health benefits of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).