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The ABCs of DHA:

Nothing is more important to parents than the health and well-being of their children. Studies have shown that DHA, an important omega-3 fatty acid found naturally in breast milk and as an added supplement in most infant formulas, plays an especially important role in a child’s cardiovascular, brain and eye health. Yet most Americans, especially children, do not consume enough DHA, and many mothers struggle to determine exactly how and when to incorporate it into a child’s diet.

According to Dr. Alan Greene, pediatrician and author of Raising Baby Greene (Wiley Books, September 2007), “Most American kids are not getting the DHA they need. The typical 3-year-old needs about 150 mg of DHA a day. On average, they are only getting about 19 mg, a tiny fraction of what they need for optimal brain growth.”

Transitioning from breast milk or formula to regular milk can be a difficult decision, and moms want to be sure that their children receive the nutrients they need for continued healthy development. Until recently, this transition often meant sacrificing the benefits of DHA, which infants consume primarily through breast milk or formula. Now there are more options than ever to ensure that kids continue to receive the DHA they need to succeed.

Originally available primarily in fatty fish like salmon, DHA omega-3 fatty acids are now widely available in a number of convenient forms, from organic milk and orange juice fortified with DHA to daily omega-3 supplements.

DHA Q&A

What is DHA?

Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) is an omega-3 fatty acid. Although it’s found in most tissues throughout the body, the highest concentrations of DHA are in the brain, nervous system and retina of the eye. The more DHA that is consumed in the diet, the more DHA is available for these tissues.

What is an omega-3?

Omega-3s are polyunsaturated fatty acids which have been studied for their role in health and well-being. Omega-3s come in three major forms: DHA, EPA and ALA.

Why is DHA important?

Although DHA is present in most tissues within the body, DHA accumulates at greatest concentrations within the brain, nervous system and retinal tissue of the eye. Therefore, it is recognized to play a role in supporting normal development in these areas. DHA has also been shown to help promote heart health.

Why is DHA important for kids?

Kids’ brains grow incredibly fast. In fact, the brain nearly quadruples in size in the first five years of life. Up to 20 percent of the human brain is made of DHA, yet most kids don’t get the recommended DHA from common dietary sources like fish. By choosing products fortified with DHA, parents bring home all the goodness of their children’s favorite foods, plus an extra nutritional boost for their growing minds and bodies.

courtesy of Family Features and Horizon Organic

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