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Revista chilena de nutrición

versión On-line ISSN 0717-7518


VALENZUELA B, Rodrigo; MORALES P, Jessica; SANHUEZA C, Julio  y  VALENZUELA B, Alfonso. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an essential fatty acid at the brain. Rev. chil. nutr. [online]. 2013, vol.40, n.4, pp.383-390. ISSN 0717-7518.

Docosahexaenoic acid (C22: 6 -3, DHA) is a long-chain polyun-saturated fatty acid of marine origin essential 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 the human evolution, mainly on the growth and development of the brain, effect that allowed the emergence of the first cognitive skills that differentiated our specie from other animals. Currently, DHA is considered a critical nutrient during pregnancy and breastfeeding due to it active participation at both, the structural and functional 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 by the damage generated during brain ischemia-reperfusion episodes. This paper reviews and discusses the importance of DHA in the human brain given the importance of this fatty acid in the development of the tissue and as neuroprotective agent. It also includes a critical view about the use of this noble fatty acid in the population.

Palabras clave : Docosahexaenoic acid; human evolution; brain development; pregnancy; breast feeding; neuroprotection.

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