Arachidic acid is very long, 20-carbon backbone saturated fatty acid (20:0). It is found in various nuts, soybeans, peanut oil, corn oil, and cocoa butter. In addition to dietary sources, it can be synthesized by the hydrogenation of the omega-6 fatty acid arachidonic acid or the elongation of stearic acid.
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- Tsou P-L, Wu C-J. Sex-dimorphic association of plasma fatty acids with cardiovascular fitness in young and middleaged general adults: subsamples from nhanes 2003–2004. Nutrients. 2018;10(10):1558.
- Ardisson Korat AV, Malik VS, Furtado JD, et al. Circulating Very-Long-Chain SFA Concentrations Are Inversely Associated with Incident Type 2 Diabetes in US Men and Women. The Journal of Nutrition. 2019;150(2):340-349.
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- Lemaitre RN, Jensen PN, Hoofnagle A, et al. Plasma Ceramides and Sphingomyelins in Relation to Heart Failure Risk: The Cardiovascular Health Study. Circulation: Heart Failure. 2019;12(7):e005708.
- Lemaitre RN, King IB, Rice K, et al. Erythrocyte very long-chain saturated fatty acids associated with lower risk of incident sudden cardiac arrest. Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids. 2014;91(4):149-153.
Decreased dietary intake of these saturated fatty acids, or avoidance of products containing them, can result in low levels. Some VLSFAs can be synthesized from other fatty acids. Therefore, decreased levels of precursors, lack of vitamin and mineral cofactors, or SNPs in the elongase enzyme may also contribute to low levels. Specific deficiency in VLSFAs is not well studied. Though, due to their importance in brain development and their associations with improved health outcomes, as outlined above, research is evolving.
Intake of foods containing these VLSFAs or use of products containing them can contribute to higher levels.
Increased intake of precursor fatty acids, or SNPs in the elongase enzyme, may alter levels.
The health implications of elevated VLSFAs levels are evolving, though they are generally found to be beneficial in health and aging. Several meta-analyses suggest a beneficial association of very long chained saturated fatty acids with cardiovascular health outcomes as well as lower risks of type 2 diabetes, atrial fibrillation, heart failure, and coronary disease. These VLSFAs may also be important in neural development and cognition. The mechanisms of these very long chained saturated fatty acids are not fully known. Because VLSFAs are components of ceremides involved in apoptosis, there is strong evidence that VLSFAs are protective against apoptosis and cell death.
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