Arachidonic acid is a fatty acid that is responsible for muscle tissue inflammation. It is a polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid that includes an organic chain of 20 carbon atoms. Arachidonic acid is also found inside the human body, particularly in the muscles, liver, and brain.
Due to its muscle inflammation properties, arachidonic acid is most widely sold as a beneficial bodybuilding supplement in order to speed up muscle gain.
Arachidonic acid should not be confused with linoleic acid since each differs in its arrangement of carbon atoms and characteristics.
Below, you’ll find the best arachidonic acid supplements on the market, ranked and reviewed by our expert health panel.
1. Enhanced Athlete Arachidonic Acid
Enhanced Athlete provides high quality arachidonic acid for 90 days straight to ensure you reap all the muscle-building benefits.
Each capsule contains 350mg of arachidonic acid, a market-leading amount. You’ll find no extraneous ingredients either – these advantages make it BodyNutrition’s #1 pick.
2. Molecular Nutrition X-Factor Arachidonic Acid
Molecular Nutrition provides arachidonic acid supplements with clinically proven results. Each capsule comes in 250 mg to help amplify protein synthesis and make sure that you don’t experience any training plateaus.
It’s an excellent choice if you want some of the highest quality arachidonic acid around without going quite as high in concentration as the last pick.
3. Serious Nutrition Solutions X-Gels
Serious nutrition softgels each contain 250 mg of arachidonic acid, allowing you to build more lean muscle and strength with the same exercise routines as before.
This is a great choice thanks to its affordability and tamper-proof lid.
4. Ancestral Supplements Grass Fed Beef Organs
Ancestral supplements contain natural vitamins and minerals from grass-fed beef organs, including the liver, kidneys, heart, pancreas, and spleen.
Some of the excellent muscle-boosting vitamins you’ll receive include vitamin A, selenium, vitamin B12, iron, and natural enzymes.
5. Huge Supplements Arachidone
Huge Supplements arachidonic acid can promote lean muscle mass and help you build strength much more effectively, especially since you get 1500 mg of the stuff per serving (three capsules).
The easy to swallow softgels are a great bonus.
6. Noomadic Arachidonic Acid
Noomadic makes a super-simple arachidonic acid supplement whose only ingredients are arachidonic acid itself and cellulose, which comprises the capsule. It’s got a solid 250 mg dosage of arachidonic acid and, unlike many of its competitors, it sources its arachidonic acid from fungus, which makes it vegan-friendly.
7. Core Active REM Test P.M. Testosterone Boost
Core Active REM combines arachidonic acid with additional testosterone boosting ingredients that help you rest more deeply and build muscle more effectively on your off days.
Each serving includes a plethora of natural ingredients like natural growth factors and estrogen suppressants, to create a holistic and excellent supplement all around for any man.
8. Animal Test Testosterone Booster for Men
Animal Test arachidonic acid supplements come in an all-in-one testosterone booster pack that includes both the main arachidonic acid ingredient and additional ingredients for added muscle boosting, better mood, and greater hair growth.
It’s an excellent all-around supplement if you want to revitalize your testosterone.
9. Jacked Factory Build-XT Muscle Builder
Jacked Factory muscle building pills can help you grow muscle even more effectively when consumed in conjunction with a quality arachidonic acid supplement.
Each pill contains natural anabolic muscle-building ingredients like Astragin, PeakO2, and ElevATP.
10. Evoganica Arachidonic Acid
Evoganica Arachidonic Acid has a pretty typical 250 mg dose of arachidonic acid, and though its supplement design is pretty simple, it doesn’t offer much to distinguish itself from the competition, which lands it lower in the rankings.
Best arachidonic acid overall: Enhanced Athlete Arachidonic Acid
Enhanced Athlete takes our top overall spot thanks to its focused delivery of an industry-leading dosage of arachidonic acid. With 40% more arachidonic acid per capsule than many of its competitors, it’s well-suited for supporting even the most aggressive strength training and bodybuilding regimens.
Best arachidonic acid for muscle growth: Enhanced Athlete Arachidonic Acid
With its high dosage and lack of extraneous ingredients, it should be no surprise that Enhanced Athlete is our recommendation for muscle growth. The clean supplement design ensures that it’s compatible with a broad range of bulking and cutting stacks used to further augment muscle growth.
Best arachidonic acid for inflammation: Molecular Nutrition X-Factor
If you’re using arachidonic acid to control low-grade muscle inflammation, the more moderate 250 mg dosage and the larger-capacity bottle in X-Factor make it a great candidate for tamping down inflammatory responses in muscle tissue.
Best arachidonic acid to take before a workout: Serious Nutrition Solutions X-Gels
Looking to load up on arachidonic acid before a particularly tough training session? Go for the softgel capsules made by Serious Nutrition Solutions. This gel-form supplement ensures rapid delivery and availability of arachidonic acid, which will give you a jump-start on muscle recovery.
Best arachidonic acid for bodybuilding: Enhanced Athlete Arachidonic Acid
Arachidonic acid’s ability to accelerate muscle recovery makes it a favorite in bodybuilding circles, and it should be no surprise that our top pick overall is also our top pick for bodybuilders. The potent 350 mg dose of arachidonic acid in Enhanced Athlete Arachidonic Acid makes it a great choice for physique athletes looking for serious muscle gains.
Best animal organ supplement with arachidonic acid: Ancestral Supplements Grass-fed Beef Organs
Looking to get arachidonic acid in an all-natural animal-sourced format? Ancestral Supplements should be your choice. Their grass-fed beef organ capsules provide naturally-occurring arachidonic acid alongside the other nutrients you’d get from organs including heart, liver, kidney, pancreas, and spleen.
Who should buy arachidonic acid?
The effects of arachidonic acid benefit any bodybuilders or individuals who want to build lean muscle more quickly. Specifically, arachidonic acid supplements are excellent for athletes, especially those that experience depression. Arachidonic acid supplements can also be helpful for those who want to lose weight and gain strength at the same time through resistance training.
Since arachidonic acid only provides acute inflammation, it helps your muscles contract and doesn’t require eating a lot of protein or other calories. Thus, you can build strength and lose weight just by keeping your calorie intake number below your calorie usage number. Arachidonic acid also naturally alleviates some symptoms of depression by reversing various negative signals in the brain, meaning it can be great for those currently suffering from depressive episodes.
One last possible group that might benefit from arachidonic acid supplements are people who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. The exact link isn’t fully understood, but arachidonic acid supplements might alleviate the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis due to their protein-synthesis effects.
While there are no interactions with prescription medication, it’s always best to speak to a doctor before supplementing with arachidonic acid.
How we ranked
Athletes and bodybuilders can take arachidonic acid supplements with a variety of potencies; smaller dosages hovering around 250 mg, and heavier dosages going above 1000 mg. In general, higher potencies will result in better muscle tissue generation and greater protein synthesis rates.
However, this may also exacerbate any side effects that you might experience as a result of pre-existing inflammatory conditions. Furthermore, athletes may want to take lower dosages of arachidonic acid in order to combine the supplement with other muscle-boosting compounds or proteins.
Because there isn’t a single potency level that works for everyone, we looked for arachidonic acid supplements across the entire potency spectrum, from 250mg to 1500mg. That being said, we did prefer products on the lower end of the spectrum, which is why Enhanced Athlete ranked so well on our list.
We also considered any added ingredients in arachidonic acid supplements. For instance, Animal Test Testosterone Booster for Men includes other natural testosterone boosting ingredients for a more well-rounded and holistic health boost. These kinds of supplements are popular choices since they can provide a wide variety of benefits instead of just focusing on muscle growth. However, you’ll normally find that most high-potency arachidonic acid supplements only contain one ingredient and vice versa.
Lastly, we looked at value. In general, you never want to go with supplements that have less than 30 capsules or a month’s supply. This doesn’t give the arachidonic acid enough time to build up in the body and do its job properly. Some of our top choices include enough arachidonic acid capsules to last for three months, allowing you to build lean muscle efficiency without breaking the bank.
Arachidonic acid can help build lean muscle tissue in bodybuilders and athletes. Studies have shown that an increase in arachidonic acid raises the anaerobic capacity and causes the muscle fibers to thicken as a result of greater protein synthesis (1, 2).
Bodybuilders use arachidonic acid supplements in order to induce inflammation in their muscle tissues, forcing their muscles to grow in greater size and shape. It has been found that arachidonic acid’s characteristic of causing small amounts of inflammation help muscles contract and become larger.
This also makes it helpful for those who wish to lose weight and gain strength through resistance training. Small amounts of inflammation thus are beneficial for gaining muscle for bodybuilders (3). The fatty acids present in the acid help muscle fibers utilize protein a lot more efficiently.
Trainers who can benefit most from arachidonic acid supplements are those who have reached training plateaus and won’t to shock their muscles to make greater gains.
Arachidonic acid can help treat depression, especially in athletes. Fish oils are commonly sold as supplements rich in omega-3 fatty acids in order to overcome depression. However, fish oil may not necessarily be rich with omega-3 fatty acids; it all depends on what types of fish have been used to produce the oil and whether the fish had access to a proper habitat.
Researchers found that arachidonic acid has elements that can alleviate symptoms of depression and reverse negative signals in the brain (4). Arachidonic acid has also been shown to thin out blood that can counter depression a lot more efficiently
Arachidonic acid can help treat rheumatoid arthritis. One study found that participants who took a diet rich in fish oil showed a reduction in swollen joints (5). This has led researchers to conclude that a diet rich in arachidonic acid can be very effective for treating arthritis.
Arachidonic acid may worsen pre-existing inflammatory conditions. In other words, if you suffer from arthritis, eczema, breast tenderness, or diabetes, it is advisable to consult a trained medical physician so that you can ensure it does not lead to harmful effects such as lower the impact of certain medicines.
Arachidonic acid can upset the natural balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. This can have severe negative effects pertaining to immune and cardiovascular health. The human body needs to have an omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids balance ratio of 1:1. If there are too many omega-6 fatty acids as a result of arachidonic acid supplements, it can cause your body to become omega-3 deficiency.
Some of these symptoms include dry skin, brittle, hair, peeling nails, frequent urination, insomnia, concentration problems, and mood swings. If you are experiencing any one of these symptoms, chances are that you may have an omega-3 deficiency.
In other cases, having an excess of omega-6 fatty acids can lead to severe illnesses and diseases, among of which are cardiovascular disease, asthma, cancer, autoimmune disease, obesity, irritable bowel syndrome, and more. As with any beneficial supplement, you should be wary of consuming too much arachidonic acid.
As an omega-6 fatty acid, consuming it in large concentrations can lead to an imbalance in fatty acids that can cause you to become omega-3 deficient. For this reason, it is advisable that you consult a doctor so that you are medically fit for taking arachidonic acid supplements.
Arachidonic acid may cause a low birth weight. Some reports show that Arachidonic acid may cause babies to be born small. More evidence is needed to confirm this.
Arachidonic acid may worsen various diseases. Arachidonic acid can make breathing more difficult in patients suffering from COPD. Arachidonic acid may also cause high blood pressure in diabetics.
Arachidonic acid can raise blood triglyceride levels. As such, you should avoid arachidonic acid if you have naturally high triglyceride levels.
Based on the above studies and the scientific benefits, arachidonic acid supplements are best utilized when you consume 1.5g per day. This translates to 1500 mg of arachidonic acid every day, although you can certainly take less depending on the other supplements and how well you tolerate it. It’s a good idea to start off with 250 mg to 500 mg of arachidonic acid if you haven’t already tried the supplement before and aren’t sure about potential side effects.
As described above, some side effects have been noted, particularly in those who already have inflammatory conditions. If you do start to experience some side effects, slowly taper off your consumption of arachidonic acid and see if things get better.
What types of athletes benefit from arachidonic acid to most? Arachidonic acid supplements benefit three groups of athletes. The first group is athletes that want to go past plateaus. Plateaus are periods characterized by a difficulty to grow new muscle mass. They’re essentially points when your body is at a good weight and wants to remain in homeostasis.
Everyone has a different plateau point, but if you want to push past it and become even bigger than you would get from natural exercise, you’ll need to take some supplements or extra protein.
The next group of athletes that benefit from arachidonic acid supplements are powerlifting athletes. These athletes can use arachidonic acid to prevent themselves from losing muscle gains even though they rest for a certain period. The last group includes other highly trained athletes that want an extra boost for their performance or muscle growth
How does arachidonic acid affect muscle growth? Arachidonic acid affects muscle growth in a myriad of ways. Firstly, arachidonic acid causes your muscle fibers to experience acute inflammation. This does not mean that anything bad is happening to your muscles; in fact, acute inflammation is necessary if you want your body to build lean protein. Lean protein is better for muscle building since it repairs tears in muscle tissue a little more quickly
Basically, arachidonic acid naturally resides in some cell membranes in your muscles. Whenever you damage your muscles by lifting weights, enzymes go toward those cell membranes and free the arachidonic acid up to do its work. Arachidonic acid is then broken down and can create small but localized hormones called prostaglandins.
These hormones cause the inflammation and pain that you feel after a workout. While that sounds negative, it actually plays a crucial role in telling your body that it’s time to rebuild some muscle tissue. This makes your body build muscle more quickly and efficiently. At the same time, arachidonic acid increases how many nuclei are in your muscle cells – this, in turn, improves muscle protein synthesis even better
All in all, arachidonic acid is fantastic to take if you want to build muscle. This naturally lends itself to bodybuilders or fitness enthusiasts. But just about anyone looking to get into shape could benefit from taking an arachidonic acid supplement in conjunction with a healthy diet.
Where does arachidonic acid come from? Arachidonic acid is a naturally occurring and polyunsaturated fatty acid. In the human body, you can find plenty of it in the membranes of your body’s cells, especially in your muscles, liver, and brain cells. More specifically, arachidonic acid is typically retained in your skeletal muscles and, in fact, accounts for between 10 and 20% of your total phospholipid fatty acid content.
All this is to say that it’s an incredibly common fatty acid, so taking additional arachidonic acid supplements isn’t like providing your body with synthetic boosters.
What is arachidonic acid responsible for the body? Arachidonic acid serves three main purposes. Firstly, it acts as a cell or lipid messenger, meaning that it signals certain chemical or physical changes throughout your body. Secondly, arachidonic acid is a vasodilator, which means that it’s a signaling compound that can widen your blood vessels and allow more blood flow throughout your body.
Its primary benefit, and the focus of it as a supplement, is in producing acute inflammation in your muscles to signal protein synthesis.
Where does your body get arachidonic acid from? Without taking a dedicated arachidonic acid supplement, you’ll get most of these fatty acids from various food sources like chicken, beef, eggs, fish, and peanuts. It’s not an essential acid since your body can synthesize it directly from linoleic acid in your liver.
This being said, the process of synthesizing new arachidonic acid is relatively inefficient. So absorbing more arachidonic acid either from eating foods already rich in the substance or by taking a dedicated arachidonic acid supplement will produce better results.
How can arachidonic acid help with brain issues like depression if it’s primarily a fatty acid used for muscle synthesis? Arachidonic acid actually helps with things like depression because of the same effect it has on your muscles. Arachidonic acid can trigger brain inflammation, but this may have unintentional and positive side effects as a result of causing different nerves to signal in the brain.
Remember, the inflammation that arachidonic acid causes is acute or localized rather than overly directed or widespread.
Why do bodybuilders use arachidonic acid more after they’ve already plateaued? When you first start building muscle, especially with a hard-core bodybuilding exercise routine and diet, you’ll often experience what is called beginner gains. In a nutshell, it’s a lot easier to build muscle in the early part of your bodybuilding lifestyle. Men, in particular, can often expect to gain around 20 pounds of muscle after a single year of regular weightlifting.
But after this point, progress slows dramatically for just about everyone, especially if you reach a homeostatic state when your body is happy with its weight and size. Regular bodybuilders and exercise enthusiasts will hit a progress wall where it’s harder for them to gain muscle without exponentially increasing their effort to match.
Therefore, many experienced bodybuilders take arachidonic acid supplements in order to boost their muscle growth to more inspiring levels and faster rates. For experienced lifters, nothing is more motivating than seeing their bodies pack on muscle just like they used to when they were just starting out.
Should you combine arachidonic acid supplements with other types of supplements? There isn’t a lot of research about how arachidonic acid interacts with other types of supplements at this time. But it’s probably a good idea to combine it with supplements that can boost your muscle recovery period.
Again, arachidonic acid improves muscle synthesis, so helping your body knit that newly-developed muscle into your greater tissue sounds like a great plan. You may also want to combine arachidonic acid with fish oil supplements. Some of the omega-3 fatty acids commonly found in fish oil make use of arachidonic acid naturally found in your body’s phospholipids.
This helps your body metabolize new muscle faster wherever muscle damage occurs. Furthermore, omega-3 fatty acids are somewhat anti-inflammatory, so combining them with the acutely inflammatory arachidonic acids is just good sense (6).
Does the inflammation sparked by arachidonic acid hurt? No, the inflammation sparked by arachidonic acid does not hurt. Inflammation, in this sense, is just referring to the activity of your muscle cells on the microscopic level. You won’t feel any different or any more pain than you normally would from regular muscle wear and tear or exhaustion.
Is arachidonic acid natural? Arachidonic acid is both, produced naturally by your body, and provided as supplements. For natural growth, linoleic acid, which is found in many vegetable oils, gets converted into gamma-linoleic acid, which is then turned into arachidonic acid.
Does arachidonic acid support the immune system? Arachidonic acid leads to an increase in the production of eicosanoids that help raise immunity and inflammatory responses in your body. Whenever you take an arachidonic acid supplement, the increase in amount will have a direct impact on the growth of eicosanoids, leading to higher inflammation.
Increasing arachidonic acid through natural means can be done through dietary changes. Consuming food such as eggs, fish, and meat contain high amounts of arachidonic acid. For the best advice, you should consult a medical physician and start with a lower dose to observe your body’s responses. Just make sure that every two training days are followed by a recovery day.
What is the biggest danger of arachidonic acid? The biggest issue with arachidonic acid is the fact that it’s an omega-6 fatty acid. While not dangerous by itself, it can lead to poor balances in the body of omega-3 to omega-6. This is only worsened by our omega-6 fatty acid dominant western diet. When there is a severe ratio imbalance, many of the body functions become compromised and stop functioning normally.
Is arachidonic acid the same as omega-3 fatty acids? No, arachidonic acid is not an omega-3 fatty acid. Omega-3 fatty acids include EPA and DHA and help lower inflammation. You can find omega 3 fatty acids in fish, eggs, and grass fed beef. Arachidonic acid is different because it causes inflammation and falls under the omega-6 fatty acid family.
Arachidonic acid is a well known omega 6 fatty acid that is popular in weight lifting circles. It has been scientifically proven to help promote muscle mass and reduce weight, alleviates depression symptoms, and also eases arthritis pain by relieving sore joints and tendons.
Side effects are minimal and are usually a result of an imbalance of omega-3 and omega 6 fatty acids in the body. This is easily fixed by taking a high quality fish or krill oil supplement.
For BodyNutrition’s #1 recommended arachidonic acid supplement, click here.