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Article: The DHA Controversy: What Common Supplements Won't Tell You

Kontroverze kolem DHA: Co vám běžné doplňky neřeknou

The DHA Controversy: What Common Supplements Won't Tell You

In today's fast-paced world, mental health and cognition are more important than ever. With increasing demands on our attention, memory and creativity, we are looking for ways to optimize our brain function. While there are many factors that contribute to brain health, one stands out as particularly important: docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in its specific SN-2 configuration.

What is DHA and why is it important?

DHA is a long-chain omega-3 fatty acid that is abundant in our brain and retina. It plays a fundamental role in the structure and function of nerve cells, supports the fluidity of cell membranes, the transmission of signals and the production of neuroprotective compounds.

Research has linked adequate DHA intake to a number of cognitive benefits, including:

1. Improved memory and learning
2. Increased attention and reduced impulsivity
3. Better processing of visual information
4. Reduced risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease
DHA deficiency, on the other hand, has been linked to cognitive deficits, mood disorders and an increased risk of neurological disorders.

SN-2 configuration: Why it matters

However, not all DHA is created equal. In order for our brains to fully utilize its benefits, DHA must be in a specific stereochemical configuration known as SN-2 (or sn-2).
In the DHA molecule, the carbon atoms are numbered from 1 to 22. The position of the double bonds on these atoms determines its shape and function. In the SN-2 configuration, DHA is attached to the second carbon of the glycerol backbone of the phospholipid. This specific arrangement enables optimal incorporation into cell membranes and subsequent conversion to bioactive compounds such as neuroprotectins and resolvins.
The SN-2 configuration can be considered a "lock" that allows DHA to effectively "unlock" its beneficial effects in our brain.
Sources of SN-2 DHA
This is where things get complicated. Not all sources of DHA provide this important nutrient in the SN-2 configuration. In fact, many common supplements, such as standard fish oils, contain mostly DHA in the less optimal SN-1 and SN-3 configuration.

The richest natural sources of SN-2 DHA are:

1. Seafood: Fish like salmon, sardines, and tuna are excellent sources of SN-2 DHA. Seafood is also rich in other important nutrients for brain health, such as iodine and vitamin B12.
2. Krill Oil: Derived from Antarctic krill, this oil is unique in that it contains DHA almost exclusively in the SN-2 configuration. Krill oil also has the benefit of astaxanthin, a powerful antioxidant that may further support brain health.
3. Breast milk: Nature knows best. Breast milk contains high levels of SN-2 DHA, which supports rapid brain development in infants.
Unfortunately, the modern diet often lacks these key resources. Vegan and vegetarian diets are particularly prone to DHA deficiency, as plant sources such as algae and flaxseed provide mostly the precursor ALA, which is poorly converted to DHA in the human body.

Synthesis of SN-2 DHA: A Modern Miracle

Fortunately, advances in biotechnology now allow high levels of SN-2 DHA to be synthesized using enzymatic processes. These patented methods mimic natural pathways in the human body to ensure that DHA is in the optimal configuration for absorption and utilization.

Enzymatically synthesized SN-2 DHA offers several advantages:

1. High Purity: Synthetic processes eliminate contaminants and toxins that may be present in marine sources.
2. Sustainability: Synthesis of SN-2 DHA reduces pressure on wild fish and krill populations.
3. Consistency: Enzymatic synthesis ensures that each dose contains a predictable amount of SN-2 DHA.
4. Suitable for vegans: Synthetic SN-2 DHA offers a plant-based alternative for those avoiding animal products.
High-quality supplements like Endala Krill Oil now contain enzymatically synthesized SN-2 DHA, ensuring your brain receives this critical nutrient in its most effective form.

Fish Oil: Why It May Not Be Enough

Standard fish oil, often found in dietary supplements, usually contains DHA in the SN-1 and SN-3 configurations, not the optimal SN-2 configuration. These forms of DHA are not used as efficiently by the body, which can limit their benefits for brain health. Therefore, it is important to look for supplements that specifically contain DHA in the SN-2 form to ensure maximum absorption and utilization of this key nutrient for brain function and overall health.

Bottom line: Nourish your brain with SN-2 DHA

In our quest to optimize cognitive function and support long-term brain health, SN-2 DHA is an indispensable ally. Whether you're getting this key nutrient from seafood, krill oil, or high-quality supplements like Endala Krill Oil, ensuring you're getting adequate SN-2 DHA is an investment in your brain that pays off over the course of a lifetime.
So the next time you visit the grocery store, pay attention not only to the amount of DHA, but also to its quality. Look for sources rich in SN-2 DHA to give your brain the nutrition it needs to thrive. Your brain - and your overall well-being - will thank you.​​​​​​​​​​​​
studies
https://lipidworld.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12944-015-0015-4

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