Docosahexenoic acid (DHA) is the major omega-3 fatty acid that is involved in neurological, visual and immune development. In the brain, DHA is most abundant of all brain omega-3 fats. In the eye, DHA is also involved in the ability of the eye’s retina to respond to light.
Arachidonic acid (ARA) is the main long-chain omega-6 fatty acid used for brain development. It helps with nerve firing in the brain, as well as immune system function, blood vessel formation and bone growth.
The infant brain builds up stores of DHA and ARA from late pregnancy (through the placenta) and over the first 24 months (through breast milk). Both DHA and ARA are found in breastmilk at the level of 0.32% (for DHA) and 0.43% (for ARA), as a percent of total fatty acids.