Arachidonic acid (AA) is a key omega-6 fatty acid measured in the OmegaCheck test offered by Cleveland HeartLab, which assesses cardiovascular risk based on polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) status.
The test measures blood levels of various fatty acids, including EPA, DHA, linoleic acid, and arachidonic acid, as well as the omega-3/-6 ratio, providing a comprehensive profile of essential fatty acid status.
Omega-6 fatty acids like AA are obtained from animal sources and plant oils and can have pro-inflammatory and pro-thrombotic properties at elevated levels. The OmegaCheck test, which can be used to measure the sum of EPA, DHA, and DPA in whole blood, expressed as a percentage of total fatty acids, serves as a method for assessing the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). The Arachidonic Acid/EPA Ratio is one of the specifics measured, providing insight into the balance of these fatty acids, which is critical for cardiovascular health.
Reduced intake of animal meats and fats, or low dietary intake of omega-6 fatty acids in general, can result in lower levels of AA. Lack of vitamin and mineral cofactors for the desaturase and elongase enzymes upstream in omega-6 metabolism might contribute to lower levels. Because of important immune and inflammatory signaling which requires AA, and its role in cell membrane phospholipid metabolism, lower levels of AA do have clinical significance. Psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, and neurologic disorders like tardive dyskinesia, show depletion of AA in RBC membranes. Improving AA levels decreased symptoms in some patients. Monitoring levels and ensuring adequate dietary intake of AA is important in pregnant women, infants, children, and the elderly due to its importance for the development and optimization of the nervous system, skeletal muscle, and the immune system.
- A high Arachidonic acid level promotes gallstone formation by stimulating mucin production in the gallbladder mucosa.
- Arachidonic acid may trigger brain inflammation. High blood levels have been associated with a greater risk of suicide and depressive episodes.
- Animal protein from meat and fish has also been associated with a higher risk of inflammatory bowel disease such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Arachidonic acid has been identified as one possible reason why.
Reduce or eliminate consumption of animal products.
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