Arachidonic Acid

An omega-6 polyunsaturated acid, arachidonic acid (ARA) is essential for our body for generating pro-inflammatory immune responses that are needed for repair and healing processes.

An essential acid, arachidonic acid is regarded as a member of the omega-6 group. The cell membranes in our body stores this acid, which sends signals that result in adaptive changes whenever there is any molecular damage or any other kind of stimuli in the cells. A Welsh chemist named William Llewellyn developed as well as patented various arachidonic acid supplementation procedures, which is employed to promote muscle growth.

Structurally, this acid comprises a 20-carbon composite belonging to one group of the essential omega-6 fats. This poly-unsaturated acid can be acquired from various vegetable oils. This acid is essential for the smooth functioning of several vital body processes. A number of organs in our body rely on arachidonic acid for their proper functioning. Usually, this fat is not classified as an essential fat since our body can produce it on its own.

The human body is capable of synthesizing this acid from another acid known as linoleic acid. Many vegetable oils have rich content of linoleic acid. Nonetheless, our body still requires sufficient amount of arachidonic acid from various secondary sources, such as supplements in case our diet does not contain sufficient amounts of it.

Food sources of arachidonic acid

Aside from vegetable oils, there are many other sources from which arachidonic acid can be obtained. Some such sources include meat, poultry and seafood. Different animal organs such as the kidneys, liver, brain contain elevated concentrations of this non-essential fat. It is worth mentioning here that arachidonic acid concentration in foods from animal sources that graze is gradually decreasing compared to those that are given formula feed. It is believed that the liver of lamb contain the maximum concentration of arachidonic acid (ARA). Considering its weight, egg yolk contains very high quantity of arachidonic acid. Fish raised in farms, such as catfish and tilapia, also contain elevated levels of this acid. In addition, many vegetable oils are also considered to be indirect sources of this fatty acid. The concentrations of linoleic acid in majority of the vegetable oils are elevated. Linoleic acid serves as a precursor for synthesizing arachidonic acid in the human body.

Before concluding, it is imperative to comprehend that arachidonic acid is extremely vital for several biochemical processes in our body. Nevertheless, the presence of excess arachidonic acid in the body may result in several inflammatory health problems. Ingestion of adequate amount of omega-3 fats regulates the presence of this polyunsaturated fat in our body. It is important to incorporate a variety of food sources because it will help in maintaining a good balance of omega-3 as well as omega-6 fats in our body, thereby counteracting the damaging effects of surplus arachidonic acid.

Health benefits

Aside from being extremely vital for the health of our neurological system, arachidonic acid offers a number of other health benefits. It especially ensures that various organs in our body function at their best possible. The human brain has a very high concentration of this polyunsaturated fat. Actually, arachidonic acid as well as decosahexanoic acid is the two most vital fats in our brain. It is important to note that presence of insufficient amounts of arachidonic acid in the brain may be harmful for your brain and also have a negative effect on its functioning. Among other things, arachidonic acid helps to protect the brain from the detrimental oxidative stress.

Aside from the above mentioned function of arachidonic acid, it works to trigger syntaxin, which is necessary to set off the growth as well as repair of the neurons. It is worth noting that arachidonic acid also helps in promoting initial neurological development in infants. Findings of a number of scientific researchers have shown that children ingesting more arachidonic acid are much more intelligent compared to those who do not consume this polyunsaturated acid.

Most bodybuilders are quite familiar with arachidonic acid's body building properties. As discussed earlier, arachidonic acid or ARA has a great contribution in maintaining, developing as well as repairing the muscles. Taking this polyunsaturated acid is one of the great means to have a ripped body. Nevertheless, use of arachidonic acid is still not very popular as one would expect it to be, especially among people who passionately and regularly visit gyms. This is mainly because the use of arachidonic acid has some adverse effects in some people, for instance, it may result in inflammation.

However, majority of the people are unaware of the fact that soreness and inflammation caused by the use of arachidonic acid is also unavoidable for muscle growth. There is an ancient adage saying nothing can be gained without pain or trouble. This adage is apt for people who desire to possess stronger as well as eye-catching muscles.

Findings of studies have shown that consuming enhances amounts of arachidonic acid may facilitate in enhancing social interaction, especially for people suffering from autism. In general, people with autism have a very poor social interaction and, hence, they have problems in communicating and interacting with other people. These are the characteristic symptoms associated with autism. Such people also have a number of other symptoms, which include problems like repetitive behaviour, in addition to a few development issues.

Moreover, people enduring autism possesses specific rare weaknesses and abilities. All said and done, possibly the most complicated challenge they face is poor social interaction. It has been found that use of arachidonic acid is helpful in alleviating these problems faced by people suffering from autism.

Another painful health condition is Alzheimer's disease. However, it is possible to manage the problems associated with this condition if the patient regularly intakes sufficient amounts of arachidonic acids from foods and supplements containing this polyunsaturated fat. Findings of many studies exploring the health benefits of arachidonic acid have shown that ingesting adequate amounts of this fat, especially during the initial days of Alzheimer's disease, can be very useful in significantly reducing the disease's progress.

There is good news for people suffering from Alzheimer's disease. It has been established that the use of this polyunsaturated fat in the later stages of Alzheimer's can also help to diminish the disease's impact. Moreover, it is also useful for people who are vulnerable to developing this condition.

Side effects and cautions

Arachidonic acid is beneficial for our health, but it may also lead to some side effects in some people. Hence, it is advisable to be cautious while using this polyunsaturated acid. It has been found that arachidonic acid may result in increased muscle soreness in some people. Additionally, using arachidonic acid may cause insomnia, sore joints or even headaches. On the other hand, majority of the people using this fat do not have any adverse effects whatsoever.

It is advisable that people who do not undertake much physical activity should preferably stay away from supplements containing arachidonic acid. Even pregnant women as well as people with a history of various diseases and health conditions like hypertension (high blood pressure), heart disease, high cholesterol, asthma, prostate enlargement, diabetes, cancer or any type of inflammatory disease should not take this polyunsaturated fat.


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