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Arachidonic acid

Arachidonic acid, a part of the Omega-6 group,  is an essential acid. Typically, stored in the cell membranes and is the first to send out the signal that a repair is needed for the body’s damage muscles.   And thanks to William Llewellyn, who is a performance-enhancing scientist, who took the time to study and developed arachidonic acid supplementation protocols that is being used for an enhanced muscle growth.


  • Considered as the main component in creating dienolic prostaglandins such as PGE2 and PGF2, Arachidonic acid helps in the production of protein synthesis and muscle hypertrophy.  This two processes occur right after doing strenuous activities such as exercise.
  • Arachidonic acid is also responsible with amplified IGF-1 (Insulin-Like Growth Factor) signaling, which enhances satellite cell proliferation and activation.  This also increase the regeneration rate of ones muscle cells, androgen receptor synthesis, as well as increasing Nitric Oxide formation.
  • Arachidonic acid also provides improvements of vascularity, that can be obtain through the stimulation of angiogenesis (blood vessel regeneration) in the muscles in your body that are trained. It also enhances body composition by subdividing negative nutrients inhibition of stearoyl-CoA desaturase-1.
  • Arachidonic acid also inhibits resistin.


  • Amatuer and professional athletes, individuals who are into weight training may greatly benefit with arachidonic acid supplement.  It is a known fact that as one shifts into high gear, arachidonic acid levels in the body normally decreases which in turn affect the production of anabolic prostaglandins.
  • Arachidonic acid is commonly used by bodybuilders, regular  gym attendees , active individuals who play physical sports on a daily basis or participants of activities that requires rapid bursts of performance.  Athletes that experience reduced level of arachidonic acid, will notice a decline with the muscle’s ability to stimulate muscle growth, also know as training stagnation.


As a common practice, long-term usage typically consumes 75mg to 250mg per day and between 500mg and a 1000mg daily for a rapid, short-term effect.  It still depends on the individuals purpose for taking in arachidonic acid.

Effects to the body

Individuals who are taking in arachidonic acid may experience:

  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Soreness of the muscles and joints
However, majority of arachidonic acid takers does not experience any side effects.

Arachidonic acid is not advisable for individuals that are not active participating in physical activities, as well pregnant females.  It is also not advisable for individuals with a variety of disease and conditions, such as:

  • High blood pressure
  • Asthma
  • Prostate enlargement
  • High cholesterol
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Any inflammatory disease

Mechanism of work

Arachidonic Acid (AA or ARA) is a polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid commonly found in dietary animal such as meat, eggs, dairy or by biosynthesis from linoleic acid.  Arachidonic acid plays an unprecedented role in repair and growth of skeletal muscle tissue, thus making arachidonic acid a very significant dietary component in muscle growth and development process. Nutritional supplements that promote boost in strength, more muscle mass, and improved performance during training will most probably contain arachidonic acid.

Arachidonic acidand bodybuilding

An increase in strenuous activities have shown that it consumed the omega-6 fatty acid levels found in the skeletal muscles. Bodybuilders who uses arachidonic acid as part of their supplement can greatly benefit them.  Arachidonic acid is not considered as a fatty acid, it becomes one if linoleic acid is deficient.

Arachidonic acid and exercise

In a study performed to 31 resistance-trained males in a randomized and double-blind manner, either with arachidonic acid (1 gram per day, n = 15) or a placebo (1 gram of corn oil per day, n = 16), that were doing a 4-day per week training for 50 days.  Positive results were obtained from the group that intakes arachidonic acid (0.3 ± 1.2 W·kg-1).   A relative increase in peak power is recorded at 7.1% and average power at 3.6% after the 50-day training period compared to the placebo group (0.2 ± 0.7 W·kg-1).   However, arachidonic acid did not directly impacted muscle mass or weight lifting measures of power (bench press and leg press). The study shows an inconclusive preliminary evidence that arachidonic acid supplements can enhance resistance training. This study was funded by Molecular Nutrition (arachidonic acid manufacturer and patent holder).

In another study conducted to thirty recreationally trained males that participated in an 8-week, 3-day per week, resistance-training program, arachidonic acid takes showed a greater lean body mass gains and skeletal muscle thickness compared to the placebo group. The total power and strength are also greater than the placebo group.


With the conclusion of the clinical study, total testosterone level and cortisol concentrations were both unchanged after the 50-day study period.

Arachidonic Acid and Inflammation

Inflammation is the body’s immune system way of fighting off infection and injury.  Eccentric and concentric muscle training can also result to an acute inflammation. Some disorders can also result to inflammation such as arthritis, allergies, asthma, obesity, atherosclerosis and others. In theory, localized inflammatory may have anabolic effect.

Arachidonic acid, when oxygenated, transforms into a variety of products, and some facilitate inflammatory reactions. Arachidonic acid is known to stimulate the production of pro-inflammatory prostaglandins and leucotrienes through in the COX (cyclooxgenase), LOX (lipoxygenase) and cytochrome P450 enzyme conversion process. However, studies are showing mixed results.  It is being argued that intake of omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids may lead to a conflict between omega-6 and omega-3 metabolism that can result to a lesser production of anti-inflammatory from omega-3.  On the test conducted on the human subjects, high intakes of omega-6 created no association with the inflammatory markers elevated level.  However, consumption of arachidonic acid is known to aggravate symptoms of joint pains or active inflammatory disease, because it is presumed that the acid is being converted to inflammatory compounds.  It is therefore suggested that individuals who has inflammatory disease does not consume high levels of arachidonic acid.

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