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Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2017 Sep;124:1-10. doi: 10.1016/j.plefa.2017.08.001. Epub 2017 Aug 14.

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a fundamental fatty acid for the brain: New dietary sources.

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Nutrition Department, Faculty of Medicine, University of Chile, Santiago, Chile.
Nutrition Department, Faculty of Medicine, University of Chile, Santiago, Chile. Electronic address:
Lipid Center, Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology (INTA), University of Chile and Faculty of Medicine,, University de Los Andes, Santiago, Chile.


Docosahexaenoic acid (C22: 6n-3, DHA) is a long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid of marine origin fundamental for the formation and function of the nervous system, particularly the brain and the retina of humans. It has been proposed a remarkable role of DHA during human evolution, mainly on the growth and development of the brain. Currently, DHA is considered a critical nutrient during pregnancy and breastfeeding due their active participation in the development of the nervous system in early life. DHA and specifically one of its derivatives known as neuroprotectin D-1 (NPD-1), has neuroprotective properties against brain aging, neurodegenerative diseases and injury caused after brain ischemia-reperfusion episodes. This paper discusses the importance of DHA in the human brain given its relevance in the development of the tissue and as neuroprotective agent. It is also included a critical view about the ways to supply this noble fatty acid to the population.


Brain development; Breastfeeding; Docosahexaenoic acid; Neuroprotection; New dietary sources; Pregnancy

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