An essential omega-3 fatty acid and a predominant structural component of the brain (roughly made up of 60% fat), Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is a vital nutrient, playing multi-functional roles for brain health and disease prevention.

The turnover of DHA in the brain is swift. Optimal DHA intake is crucial during pregnancy and also while breastfeeding, as it's vital for brain development in utero and infancy. DHA is also required for the maintenance of normal brain function in adults. 

Increasing research suggests that DHA intake above standard nutritional requirements can decrease your risk of or modify the course of several brain diseases.

DHA is 'essential' as our bodies can't synthesise it, so we have to get it from food. The most abundant and absorbable form of DHA is oily fish like sardines, wild salmon and mackerel.

You need to eat two portions of fatty fish a week to provide your body with adequate amounts. You can also ensure you're getting enough by taking a daily fish oil supplement.

While research is ongoing regarding the effects of DHA consumption for several diseases and disorders, positive results have emerged for cognitive decline, Alzheimer's, learning ability, ADHD and depression. In this article, we'll aim to answer many of the most common questions surrounding DHA – and suggest ways to increase your intake.