What is Arachidonic Acid?
Arachidonic acid (ARA) belongs to the Omega 6 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid.
From the ARA Structure, we can see it contains four carbon-carbon double bonds, a carbon-oxygen double bond, which is a highly unsaturated fatty acid
Does ARA belong to Essential fatty acids?
No, Arachidonic Acid is not Essential fatty acids (EFAs).
Only Alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid) and linoleic acid (an omega-6 fatty acid) are EFAs.
However, Arachidonic acid is synthesized from Linoleic acid. Once our body is lack of linoleic acid, or there has an inability to convert linoleic acid to ARA, our body will be short of ARA, so AA becomes import in this way.
ARA Food Resource
National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005-2006
|Rank||Food item||Contribution to intake (%)||Cumulative contribution (%)|
|1||Chicken and chicken mixed dishes||26.9||26.9|
|2||Eggs and egg mixed dishes||17.8||44.7|
|3||Beef and beef mixed dishes||7.3||52.0|
|4||Sausage, franks, bacon, and ribs||6.7||58.7|
|5||Other fish and fish mixed dishes||5.8||64.5|
|8||Pork and pork mixed dishes||3.1||75.5|
|9||Mexican mixed dishes||3.1||78.7|
|11||Turkey and turkey mixed dishes||2.7||84.2|
|12||Pasta and pasta dishes||2.3||86.5|
Where can we find ARA in our life
If we check the Ingredients list in Baby milk powder, Arachidonic Acid(ARA) can be found as one of the important ingredients for intelligence development.
You will have a question, is ARA only essential for babies?
Absolutely No, a lot of ARA supplements on the market for Brain Health and Sports nutrition, help support muscle size, strength, and muscle preservation during training.
Can Arachidonic Acid work for bodybuilding?
Yes. The body relies on ARA for inflammation, a normal and necessary immune response to repair damaged tissue.
Strength training will cause an acute inflammatory response, which is necessary to build bigger muscles.
From the below picture, we can see two prostaglandins produced from ARA are PGE2 and PGF2α.
One study performed with skeletal muscle fibers show that PGE2 increases protein breakdown, while PGF2α stimulates protein production. Other studies also found PGF2α can increase skeletal muscle fiber growth.
Detailed Arachidonic Acid Metabolism
Almost all the mammalian cells can produce prostaglandins and their related compounds(prostacyclins, thromboxanes and leukotrienes also collectively known as eicosanoids).
Most ARA-derived eicosanoids can promote inflammation, but some also act to resolve it which equals anti-inflammatory.
Prostaglandins Physiological effects as below.
Prostaglandins are synthesized by enzymes and react at G-protein linked receptors, and intracellularly mediated by cAMP.
Arachidonic Acid and its Metabolism including Protaglandins (PG), Thromboxanes (TX) and Leukotrienes (LT)
2008/968/EC: Commission Decision of 12 December 2008 authorizing the placing on the market of arachidonic acid-rich oil from Mortierella alpina as a novel food ingredient under Regulation (EC) No 258/97 of the European Parliament and of the Council (notified under document number C(2008) 8080)
Determination of the generally recognized as safe (GRAS) status of arachidonic acid-rich oil as a food ingredient for infant formula applications.
New Resource Food
China Government approves Arachidonic Acid as a New Resource Food Ingredient.
Arachidonic Acid Dosage
For Adult: The ARA intake levels are between 210-250 mg/day in developed countries.
For Bodybuilding: around 500-1,500 mg and take 45 minutes before workout
The International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids (ISSFAL) President – Professor Tom Brenna has shown ARA is present in human breast milk at an average of 0.47% of total fatty acid.
In infants and young children period, the ability of the baby to synthesize ARA is low, so for the baby who is in the golden period of physical development, providing a certain ARA in the food will be more conducive to the development of his physique. The lack of ARA may have serious adverse effects on the development of human tissues and organs, especially the development of the brain and nervous system.
A double-blind study did on 30 healthy, young males with2 years of strength training experience at least for eight weeks.
Each participant was assigned to take two pieces of soft gels containing 1.5 grams total of ARA or corn oil randomly. Participants took the softgel about 45 minutes before training, or whenever convenient on non-training days.
The DXA scan test result shows body mass significantly increased in the ARA group only (+1.6 kilograms; 3%), Placebo group almost has no change.
Both two groups of muscle thickness increased significantly compared to baseline, the increase was greater in the AA group (8% vs. 4% increase; p=0.08).
For Fat mass, no significant change or difference.
Researchers found that arachidonic acid can alleviate depression symptom and reverse the brain’s negative signals.
Arachidonic acid has also been shown can conquer depression efficiently by decreasing blood.
For the aged
Scientists did an experiment on Rats, details as below.
In rats, the activity of an enzyme that converts linoleic acid to arachidonic acid decreases with aging, and supplementation of the diet to arachidonic acid in aged rats appears to promote cognition, with P300 amplitude And latency assessment, which has been replicated in 240 mg arachidonic acid (via 600 mg triglycerides) in other healthy older men.
Since Arachidonic acid is less produced during aging, supplementation with arachidonic acid may have a cognitive enhancement in the elderly.
Since the balance ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids is 1:1 in our body.
If we take too much Arachidonic Acid supplement, our body’s Omega 6 fatty acid will be much higher than Omega-3, we will have Omega-3 deficiency problem(dry skin, brittle hair, frequent urination, insomnia, peeling nails, concentration problems, and mood swings).
Too much Omega-6 fatty acid may cause cardiovascular disease, asthma, autoimmune disease, fat.
To make sure you won’t meet this problem, please take Arachidonic acid according to your doctor’s suggestion.