Comphensive Guide to Accessory Nutrients and Essential Oils HTML version

Meschino Health Comprehensive Guide to Accessory Nutrients and Essential Oils
Accessory Nutrients and Essential Oils
Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) (Fish Oil) (See also EPA)
General Features
DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that is found in fish oil along with EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid). Unlike EPA, DHA does
not directly participate in the formation of prostaglandins or eicosanoids (hormone-like substances produced by local
tissue). However, DHA can be converted to EPA, which is the immediate precursor of prostaglandin series-3. It also
appears that unlike EPA, DHA may not reduce platelet clotting behaviour.1,2,3
DHA is one of the most abundant fatty acids in the brain, where it is required for normal growth and development of the
brain, nervous system and retina. DHA is essential for normal visual and neurological development in infants.4,5
Double-blind evidence links DHA supplementation in premature infants to better brain functioning.6
DHA has been shown to reduce levels of blood triglycerides.1
Supplementation Studies and Clinical Applications
1. Eczema
Supplementation with various essential fatty acids has been shown to be beneficial in the treatment of eczema.
Although good results have been reported with gamma-linolenic acid, flaxseed oil or fish oil supplementation,
studies seem to show that the degree of improvement correlates with the increased concentration of DHA in serum
phospholipids. Thus fish oil supplementation may be the preferred essential oil supplement for these patients.7
2. Asthma
Increasing DHA and EPA intake (through supplementation) can improve asthma in children by reducing the
concentrations of arachidonic acid. Arachidonic acid is the precursor of inflammatory 4-series leukotrienes. The
ingestion of fish oil supplements shifts leukotrienes synthesis from series 4 to series 5, which are less inflammatory,
helping to relieve asthma symptoms and improving respiratory function.8,9,10
3. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Some evidence suggests that children with ADHD may have significantly lower proportions of plasma
Docosahexaenoic Acid, which may reflect an impairment in the ability to convert EPA into DHA, or enhance
metabolism of EPA and DHA.
Burgess et al, are conducting a large intervention trial with ADHD children to see if essential fatty acid
supplementation yields an improvement over placebo.11
4. Nerve Conduction
Individuals with a genetic disorder known as Zellweger Syndrome are known to have low levels of DHA. DHA
supplementation in these individuals has demonstrated improvement in nerve myelination and nerve impulse
conduction, helping to improve muscle and vision function.15
Dosage Ranges
Therapeutic use of DHA is usually in the range of 1-3 gms of DHA from fish oil, most commonly 250 – 1,000 mg
per day.16