3

votes

Arachidonic Acid

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 29, 2013 at 11:44 AM

According to 180degreeshealth:

But even those healthy eaters who have heard about the harmful effects of vegetable oil and butter substitutes are still often making mistakes and taking in huge amounts of fat overall (burning fat for fuel instead of glucose and suffering ill consequences from it), still engulfing obscene amounts of ???healthy fats??? from nuts, seeds, and fish oils, and taking in massive doses of the most inflammatory fat of all, Arachidonic acid, by eating stupid quantities of egg yolks, chicken fat, duck fat, lard, bacon, and organ meats as if these foods are medicinal in a dose-dependent fashion. These foods can be nutritious, but most of the evidence we have about degenerative and inflammatory diseases points, not to lack of vitamins and minerals in the diet, but to an excess of Arachidonic Acid in cells and tissues as being the primary causal dietary factor of modern illness.

http://180degreehealth.com/2013/08/healthy-diets-fail

It's the first time I read something like that, can it be true?

Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

3 Answers

3
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 29, 2013
at 12:36 PM

That's the standard paleo line. AA is to omega-6s as DHA/EPA are to omega-3s. Though to claim that paleos are eating too much omega-6s/AA is a little funny, many paleos are borderline deficient in omega-6s. He's a fan of Ray Peat, so he's PUFA-phobic, glucose-happy, and more than a little weird.

2
A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on August 29, 2013
at 06:35 PM

In this study, 240 or 720 mg of arachidonic acid per day for 4 weeks produced "no changes in clinical blood parameters related to cardiovascular, inflammatory and allergic diseases". You'd have to eat almost a pound of straight lard (one of the richest AA sources) to get 720 mg of arachidonic acid.

The article "Dietary arachidonic acid: harmful, harmless or helpful?" by Philip C. Calder goes over a bunch of the evidence on arachidonic acid and inflammatory markers and concludes that it seems to be harmless, at least under 1.5 grams.

I haven't seen any convincing evidence that the amount of arachidonic acid in a diet with reasonable quantities of healthy animal products increases traditionally accepted markers of inflammation (a gram of AA, compared to a gram of corn oil, even reduced the inflammation mediating cytokine IL-6 in this study).

There's mixed evidence that AA can increase some prostaglandins, but I don't think things are as simple as prostaglandins=inflammation. PG's have a lot of effects, some of which seems to be beneficial.

1
1b47e0a6d7984e33e59581d8364cc3dd

(716)

on August 29, 2013
at 12:10 PM

It's overly simplistic and ridiculous to say "an excess of Arachidonic Acid in cells and tissues as being the primary causal dietary factor of modern illness". Especially as AA is required by many essential processes in the body, e.g. "Arachidonic acid is one of the most abundant fatty acids in the brain, and is present in similar quantities to docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)." Inflammatory processes are just one of the many important processes going on in the body; it's not that AA causes these inflammatory processes, it just happens that it's used by them to achieve the effect they are designed to do. At least that's how I understand it.

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!