Prenatal DHA – What Is It and Why It Matters!

Introduction

As human beings, starting from when we were infants we needed to consume enough of the right nutrients to ensure proper development and growth of our bodily systems. Upon reaching adulthood, the majority of our growth and development would have been complete, making our shift focus on consuming adequate amounts of essential vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fiber and protein to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle and prevent diet-related health problems.

Prenatal DHA is a dietary supplement that is meant to be consumed by pregnant women to help fulfil their daily nutritional needs, as well as their developing baby’s, of omega-3 fatty acids. Diet Standards Prenatal DHA provides 150 mg of DHA per soft gel consumed, which is a great amount for prenatal needs.

Continue reading to learn more!

What is prenatal DHA?

Prenatal DHA is a dietary supplement, meant to be consumed by pregnant women, that provides a concentrated dose of DHA essential fatty acids in every serving. It promotes the health of the developing child, as well as its brain and neural development, and is thought to provide protection against pregnancy-related complications.

What does DHA stand for?

DHA stands for Docosahexaenoic Acid. This is an omega-3 fatty acid that is a primary structural component of the human brain, cerebral cortex, skin, and retina.

It is typically consumed to support treatment for heart disease and high cholesterol. Furthermore, other benefits include boosting memory and thinking skills, aiding infant and child development, act as treatment for certain eye disorders, and many other conditions.

Where does DHA come from?

DHA is commonly found in the meat of cold-water fish, such as mackerel, herring, tuna, halibut, salmon and cod liver. It can also be made from algae, which is a vegan friendly alternative. Diet Standards Prenatal DHA product uses vegan soft gels that is algae-derived.

What are the benefits of taking DHA?

1. Eye health

DHA mainly plays a critical role in the development of eye and nerve tissues. When consumed with EPA, which stands for Eicosapentaenoic Acid, another omega-3 fatty acid, it has been found to promote improved eye health in individuals; in a study where 500 mg of DHA and 1,000 mg of EPA was consumed daily for three months, eye pressure in its healthy subjects decreased by 8%, which reduces the risk of glaucoma, a disease that gradually erodes vision.

2. Heart health

Omega-3 fats are commonly recommended for heart health. DHA may reduce the risk of heart and circulatory disease by decreasing the thickness of the blood and lowering blood levels of triglycerides.

In one study in 154 obese adults, daily doses of 2,700 mg of DHA for 10 weeks decreased blood triglycerides by 13.3% and increased their omega-3 index by 5.6%; omega-3 index is a blood marker of omega-3 levels in the body that is linked to a reduced risk of sudden death as a result of heart-related issues.

3. Physical health

The anti-inflammatory properties in DHA can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases that are common with age, such as gum disease, and improve autoimmune conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis which can cause joint pain.

In a 10-week study conducted over 38 individuals that had rheumatoid arthritis, in which a portion were given a placebo daily while the other were given 2,100 mg of DHA daily, it was found the number of swollen joints in the latter group had decreased by 28%.

Furthermore, muscle inflammation and soreness as a result of strenuous exercise can also be reduced with increased consumption of DHA. In a separate study involving 27 women, those who took 3,000 mg of DHA daily for a week experienced 23% less muscle soreness after doing bicep curls, compared to those who took a placebo.

4. Mental health

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for a functional nervous system and a healthy brain. This has been proven by studies, including those which have found that people with Alzheimer’s disease, which is a disease that results in gradual memory loss and other symptoms such as language difficulties, disorientation and behavioral issues, tended to have lower levels of DHA in their brains than older adults with good brain function.

In a review of 20 observational studies, 17 studies concluded that higher consumption of omega-3 fatty acids, including DHA, resulted in a reduced risk of declining mental ability, which was represented by a characteristic of different types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.

Furthermore, it is possible that consuming higher levels of DHA can help reduce depression. This is because DHA, as well as EPA, aid in creation of serotonin, which is a hormone that can help improve and stabilize your mood. In another study, which had 22,000 adult participants consume 300-600 mg each of DHA and EPA, found that 30% were less likely to have symptoms of depression compared to those who did not consume similar amounts of the fatty acids on a daily basis.

Why should you take prenatal DHA while pregnant?

As mentioned in several parts of this article, consuming prenatal DHA is often recommended for women during pregnancy because of its association in neurodevelopment and visual development for a developing baby. Research has found that consuming prenatal DHA reduces risk of preterm labor and postpartum depression.

Is there a difference between prenatal DHA and regular DHA?

The main difference between any prenatal supplements and regular supplements, in general, is that the former are specially formulated to meet the increased demand for nutrients that typically occurs during pregnancy.

During pregnancy, the usual intake for macronutrients, which include carbohydrates, proteins and fats, grows significantly. At the same time, micronutrients, which include vitamins, minerals and trace elements, increases even more than the needs for macronutrients.

Therefore, prenatal DHA contains an amount DHA to supplement the needs of the developing baby as well as the mother, which is recommended to be at a minimum of 200-300 mg a day, although there were studies that recommended the minimum to be at least 600 mg a day to help prevent early preterm births.

On the other hand, the American Dietetic Association recommends consuming 500 mg a day of a combination of DHA and EPA for a normal adult who is not undergoing pregnancy.

Who can take prenatal DHA?

Despite the difference between prenatal DHA and regular DHA, it is common for women who are not pregnant to consume prenatal DHA. Women who are trying for a baby can consume prenatal DHA to help prepare a healthy environment for a baby. Even when after the baby has been born, prenatal DHA can continue to be consumed while breastfeeding, which ensures both the mother and baby are getting enough DHA. Even if you fall into neither category, it is still safe to consume.

However, it is typically not recommended for direct consumption by children under the age of 18 years old, in which a regular DHA supplement may be recommended instead.

With this in mind, it is still highly important to consult with your doctor before you begin consuming any supplement or vitamin to understand if a prenatal DHA is safe for you.

When can a prenatal DHA be taken?

It is best to use prenatal DHA as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor. It is important to read all medication guides or instruction sheets that accompany the product you have purchased. The time of day of when to take it can be once in the morning and once in the evening, either with or after a meal.

You may need to follow a special diet while taking prenatal DHA. It is important to follow all instructions of your doctor or dietician.

Are the negative side effects from taking prenatal DHA?

Unwanted side effects can occur if you consume too much of prenatal DHA than necessary or if you have an allergy to the supplement, such as if you have an allergy to fish.

There are side effects that will require you to check with your doctor immediately, including the following:

  • Bleeding gums,
  • Cough and/or coughing up blood,
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing and/or tightness in the chest,
  • Dizziness and/or headache,
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat,
  • Hives, itching or skin rashes,
  • Increased menstrual flow or vaginal bleeding,
  • Nosebleeds,
  • Paralysis,
  • Prolonged bleeding from cuts,
  • Puffiness or swelling in parts of the face,
  • Red or dark brown urine,
  • Sweating,
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness.

There may be side effects that may not require immediate medical attention, as these may go away on their own. However, it is recommended to still check with your doctor if these side effects continue or become bothersome:

  • Increased acid reflux,
  • Gassiness or bloated feeling,
  • Change in taste or unpleasant aftertaste,
  • Heartburn,
  • Indigestion or stomach discomfort.

What brand of prenatal DHA is recommended?

We recommend Diet Standards Prenatal DHA.

What makes our product so great is that it is algae-based and 100% vegan. It is the best omega-3 EPA & DHA supplement to pair with prenatal vitamins, with 180 vegan capsules in one bottle. Each capsule contains 150 mg of DHA, and each vegan soft gel is made with non-GMO cornstarch, seaweed extract, vegetable glycerin, sorbitol and purified water.

Our algae is grown in a clean, sustainable environment. Our product is a perfect alternative to fish-derived prenatal DHA supplements, especially for those who are vegan, vegetarian or do not like fish. It does not contain any allergens, fish, shellfish, milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, wheat and fish.

Every batch of Diet Standards Prenatal DHA is tested by a third party lab before going to market, ensuring 100% of our products meet or exceed specifications for purity, potency, heavy metals, and microbes.

Lastly, the FDA limit for mercury is 1 ppm while our product is mercury-free.

Conclusion

Prenatal DHA is an important supplement for expecting women as they promote brain development and neural development for the developing baby. Other benefits include the promoting of eye health, heart health, physical health and mental health. Although typically derived from fish, an alternative is algae-based, such as Diet Standards Prenatal DHA.

References

  1. “Nutrition Needs During Adulthood,” Study.com, https://study.com/academy/lesson/nutrition-needs-during-adulthood.html
  2. “Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA),” WebMD, https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-864/docosahexaenoic-acid-dha
  3. “Supplements During Pregnancy: What’s Safe and What’s Not,” 2020, Healthline, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/supplements-during-pregnancy#supplements-during-pregnancy
  4. “Recommended Amounts of DHA & EPA Daily,” SF Gate, https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/recommended-amounts-dha-epa-daily-5460.html
  5. “DHA Supplementation During Pregnancy: How Much is Enough?,” 2018, Whitney E. RD, https://www.whitneyerd.com/2018/03/dha-supplementation-during-pregnancy-how-much-is-enough.html
  6. “DHA Health Benefits in Pregnancy,” 2020, Very Well Family, https://www.verywellfamily.com/dha-and-pregnancy-89182
  7. “12 Health Benefits of DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid),” 2018, Healthline, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/dha-benefits
  8. “Prenatal DHA,” 2020, Drugs.com, https://www.drugs.com/mtm/prenatal-dha.html
  9. “Prenatal DHA Side Effects,” 2020, Drugs.com, https://www.drugs.com/sfx/prenatal-dha-side-effects.html
  10. “Diet Standards Prenatal DHA – Algae-Based = 100% Vegan Pills – Best Omega 3 EPA & DHA Supplement to pair with Prenatal Vitamins”, Diet Standards, https://www.amazon.com/Diet-Standards-Prenatal-DHA-Algae-Based/dp/B01FGCTZFW/

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