DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid, is one of the nutrients your body can't manufacture itself, and is often recommended as a supplement if you're planning a pregnancy or are pregnant.
Why DHA? When you're pregnant or trying to get pregnant, your body needs certain nutrients to support your health and that of your developing baby. DHA is one of the nutrients that your body cannot manufacture itself and is often recommended to be supplemented before and during pregnancy. It's commonly known as fish oil - did you know that there are vegan options on the market that eliminate the risks associated with certain environmental contaminants present in fish, such as mercury, dioxins and PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls)? We'll explain what DHA is, why it's important and how to use it as effectively as possible.
DHA and nutrition
Nutrition and pregnancy are hard enough to manage, but dietary restrictions can put even more pressure on mums-to-be (or those trying to). A good prenatal vitamin needs to contain certain essential nutrients, but plant-based options aren't always available. We're here to explain what DHA is and how you can consume appropriate levels of DHA while avoiding fish oil supplements.
DHA and pregnancy
DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid, is an essential omega-3 fatty acid, essential for the growth and development of the infant brain and for the day-to-day functioning of the adult brain. DHA is also a key component of the eyes and heart. Gynaecologists generally recommend that pregnant women take around 200 to 300 mg of DHA a day to improve pregnancy outcomes. Our Omega DHA Plusbaby contains 200 mg of DHA, which promotes a healthy pregnancy and encourages the early stages of life.
What is DHA?
It is a long-chain omega-3 fatty acid that may be beneficial for your baby's development. These omega-3 fatty acids are thought to have an impact on characteristics such as emotional intelligence, problem-solving ability and motor development.
In general, DHA is found in food sources such as cold-water fish and seafood, as well as in other animal products such as eggs, chicken and cattle fed high sources of DHA.
Why is it important?
Research results are still contradictory, but there is evidence that DHA plays a role in brain development and general health. One study showed that babies fell ill less often in the first six months of life when DHA was taken during pregnancy. Other studies look at cognitive development in the first two years of your baby's life. The results suggest that taking a prenatal vitamin containing DHA may be beneficial. Don't forget that certain factors in your life can have a negative impact on your baby's healthy development. These include
What are the vegan sources?
If you're following a vegan diet, it can be more difficult to make sure you're getting the right amount of nutrients, especially if you're getting ready to get pregnant or are expecting. Fortunately, there are some options to ensure healthy development for you and your baby.
For the body to obtain and use DHA or EPA as part of a vegetarian or vegan diet, it needs to eat foods containing ALA, or alpha-linolenic acid. ALA is found in seeds and nuts such as linseed, walnuts, echinacea, chia seeds, etc. Unfortunately, numerous studies have shown that the conversion of seeds and nuts into DHA is minimal, or even non-existent.
Fortunately, there are dietary supplements on the market, such as oil made from micro-algae, which can increase DHA levels in blood plasma. Our Plusbaby DHA capsules are made from micro-algae.
Are vegan DHA supplements as good as DHA fish oil?
Research shows similar effects on the body when taking vegan DHA and animal DHA. Fish consume their DHA from algae, so vegan supplements using algae and algae oil obtain DHA directly from the source. More research needs to be done on the long-term effects of vegan DHA supplements, but studies have suggested health benefits comparable to those of DHA fish oil.
Benefits of vegan DHA
Vegan DHA is a way to consume the necessary nutrients while avoiding eating seafood or fish oil. The health benefits of vegan and animal-based DHA are comparable, and there are environmental benefits to adopting a vegan diet.
Overfishing (catching fish at a rate higher than their reproductive capacity) is a serious problem that impacts food insecurity, damages the ocean food chain and contributes to coral reef degradation and climate change. By choosing vegan DHA tablets, you are also supporting supplements from more sustainable sources.
Vegan DHA is also free from the risk of certain environmental contaminants found in fish, such as mercury, dioxins, PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) and so on.
Vegan DHA and pregnancy
Further research is needed to accurately demonstrate the health benefits of vegan DHA during pregnancy, but some studies show that algae-derived DHA is an excellent source of omega-3 and may be a good option for women who are pregnant or wish to become pregnant and are concerned about the environmental toxins present in fish.
Why do doctors recommend prenatal vitamins containing DHA?
Studies suggest that it plays an essential role in fetal brain development. As your body does not manufacture DHA, you must obtain it from your diet or a vitamin. It seems that a large percentage of the population doesn't get the right balance of DHA through diet alone.
Everyone has unique needs, so we suggest you talk to your obstetrician or primary care provider to find out if a prenatal vitamin with DHA is right for you.
DHA represents >90% of the omega-3 acids essential for brain and eye development, and is necessary for a healthy pregnancy. While DHA is generally found in a seafood diet or in fish oil supplements, there are other vegan alternatives. Seaweed-derived fish oil is a plant-based option that eliminates the risk of environmental toxins and does not support over-fishing, which can be harmful to the planet.
Complement our omega 3 DHA with our dietary supplements for fertility or health. pregnancy :