- May 13, 2017 -
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an omega-3 fatty acid that is a primary structural component of the human brain, cerebral cortex, skin, and retina. It can be synthesized from alpha-linolenic acid or obtained directly from maternal milk (breast milk), fish oil, or algae oil. DHA's structure is a carboxylic acid (-oic acid) with a 22-carbon chain (docosa- is Greek for 22) and six (hexa-) cis double bonds (-en-);with the first double bond located at the third carbon from the omega end.Its trivial name is cervonic acid, its systematic name is all-cis-docosa-4,7,10,13,16,19-hexa-enoic acid, and its shorthand name is 22:6(n-3) in the nomenclature of fatty acids.
Most of the DHA in fish and multi-cellular organisms with access to cold-water oceanic foods originates from photosynthetic and heterotrophic microalgae, and becomes increasingly concentrated in organisms the further they are up the food chain.
DHA is a major fatty acid in brain phospholipids and the retina. the potential roles of DHA in the mechanisms of Alzheimer's disease are under active researching.
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