Millions of infants and adults around the world benefit from nutrition technology that began with space research.
In the early 1980s NASA’s Closed Environment Life Support System program explored the use of microalgae as a food supply, oxygen source and waste disposal catalyst on long duration interplanetary missions. Scientists continued work independently after the completion of the program and soon identified (Crypthecodinium cohnii) algae which produces high levels of DHA omega-3 fatty acid (docosahexaenoic acid), and a fungus (Mortierella alpine) that yields ARA (arachidonic acid), another essential fatty acid.
Both of these essential fatty acids occur naturally in human breast- milk and are important to healthy infant development. An algae based supplement was developed that could be added to baby formula. DHA and ARA rich dietary supplementation can be particularly vital for premature and low birth weight infants who may not get their full allotment in utero.
DHA is found throughout the body and is critical for healthy brain and eye development and function and has been shown to support heart health through adulthood. Just as calcium is essential for building strong bones, DHA ensures that the cells in the brain, retina, heart, and other parts of the nervous system develop and function properly.
Today a growing range of products containing DHA for children and adults are found around the world. What began as space travel research now benefits our lives right here on Earth.