Arachidonic Acid - Dietary Arachidonic Acid and Inflammation

Dietary Arachidonic Acid and Inflammation

Under normal metabolic conditions, the increased consumption of arachidonic acid is unlikely to increase inflammation. ARA is metabolized to both proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory molecules. Studies giving between 840 mg and 2,000 mg per day to healthy individuals for up to 50 days have shown no increases in inflammation or related metabolic activities. Increased arachidonic acid levels are actually associated with reduced pro-inflammatory IL-6 and IL-1 levels, and increased anti-inflammatory tumor necrosis factor-beta. This may result in a reduction in systemic inflammation.

Arachidonic acid does still play a central role in inflammation related to injury and many diseased states. How it is metabolized in the body dictates its inflammatory or anti-inflammatory activity. Individuals suffering from joint pains or active inflammatory disease may find that increased arachidonic acid consumption exacerbates symptoms, presumably because it is being more readily converted to inflammatory compounds. Likewise, high arachidonic acid consumption is not advised for individuals with a history of inflammatory disease, or who are in compromised health. Of note, while ARA supplementation does not appear to have proinflammatory effects in healthy individuals, it may counter the anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation.

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