Q1: What is Arachidonic Acid and how does it work?
Arachidonic acid, or Ara for short, is an Omega 6 fatty acid found in the phospholipids of a body’s cells (Human + Animal). Arachidonic Acid allows for the production of eicosanoids which are signalling molecules that exert control over inflammatory and immunity pathways. The greater the amount of Arachidonic Acid in the body, the more eicosanoids are produced and the greater the inflammation.
It is through these Eicosanoids that the majority of benefits seen with Arachidonic acid and its effect on body composition are noticed and the reason why anti-inflammatories (which downregulate eicosanoid synthesis) are typically avoided around consumption of Arachidonic Acid.
There are multiple subgroupings of Eicosanoids which are:
An an increase in production of eicosanoids will lead to an increase in the above. We however, are only seeking an increase in the prostaglandins and desire to limit the conversion of Ara into the other three (more on this later).
An increase in the prostaglandins PGE2 and PGF2a bought upon by Arachidonic Acid supplementation stimulates muscle protein synthesis after a bout of exercise.
In essence, via a lot of complicated pathways, Arachidonic Acid --> Exercise --> PGF2a + PGE2 = GAINZZZ
Q2: Isn’t promoting inflammation bad?
If it is systemic inflammation that occurs over a long period of time, then this is bad, however a cycle of Arachidonic acid will only increase localized inflammation of the muscle tissue where it is directed. This is known as localized inflammation and not systemic inflammation.
Q3: How can I maximise my Ara cycle?
As explained above, Arachidonic Acid allows for the production of eicosanoids which also includes amplifying an increase thromboxane formation. The idea of inhibiting this pathway is to allow for more Ara to be converted to prostaglandins and prevent/limit platelet aggregation and vasoconstriction bought upon by thromboxane production. To counteract this, a low dose aspirin (81mg) or Carnitine salt is often suggested. The reason a low dose aspirin is used over a higher dosed aspirin is because the lower dose will not affect the CoX-2 pathway in which Arachidonic acid works but it will deactivate Cox-1 and thus reduce thromboxane formation.
It is also suggested that Ara be taken with Glycerol Monosterate (GMS) to emulsify the Ara (breakdown fat globules into smaller, more uniform particles).
It is also suggested to take Arachidonic Acid either completely fasted or 45 minutes Pre-workout. The reason for this is that both scenarios favour the depositon of Ara into skeletal muscle which is what we want (for its effects on building muscle). Pre-workout is favoured even more as eicosanoid biosynthesis begins when a body cell is activated by mechanical trauma, or in this instance, exercise. Ara also has the ability to act as a vasodilator which further solidifies its use pre-workout. Avoid taking with food as insulin will deposit Ara in adipose tissue and the effects of the compound will be wasted.
If a pre-workout meal is part of your routine; supplementing with Ara after a decent warm-up may be the next best option.
Carnitine dose recommended: 2g of either LCLT, PLCAR, ALCAR or other forms of carnitine salt
GMS dose recommended: ~6g
Aspirin dose recommended: <81mg. Note that you use EITHER aspirin or Carnitine as they both do the same thing.
Q4: Can I still take my Intra-workout drinks while using Ara?
The short answer is yes. Even if insulin was secreted during exercise it would be more sensitive to muscle cells however exercise raises phsiological levels of epinephrine which inhibits insulin release during exercise.
Q5: What is the ‘ideal’ cycle duration and when do I use Ara?
We recommend cycles lasting no longer than 50 workout days. It was previously recommended that cycles last 50 total days when dosed everyday. This falls in line with the safety studies and other trials done on Ara where dosing was performed everyday for 50 days. We now recommend that Ara be taken pre-workout only as this environment will ensure Ara distribution into skeletal muscle tissue.
Q6: What stacks well with Ara?
Almost anything! You name it, it probably work well with Ara. There are a few exceptions that will be listed further down, however.
Feel free to add other suggestions below or chop and change your own recommendations.
Q7: Should I avoid anything while using Ara?
There are some things that should be avoided whilst using Ara. These include:
-Omega 3’s. These counteract Ara in 3 primary ways:
- Displacement: Omega 3s are shown us that they are able to decrease tissue concentrations of Ara, and while this is a good thing long term, it is counter intuitive of Ara supplementation.
- Competitive inhibition: Both fight for COX and LOX enzymes, which means that fish oil supplementation will lower the eiconasoids you actually want increased, notably series 2 prostagladins.
- Counteraction: Fish oil produces eiconasoids that directly counteract some of those produced by Ara. For example, PGE1 is increased with fish oil supplementation, which counteracts PGE2 - one of the primary mechanisms in which Ara works for muscle growth.
-NSAID’s. These inhibit CoX-2 which is the primary pathway in which Ara exerts its anabolic effects. Ergo, using a CoX-2 inhibitor will make your Ara almost worthless
-Anything anti-inflammatory. Cissus, Fish oil etc should all be dosed 4+ hours away from Ara or omitted from the cycle altogether
Q8: What is the recommended dose of Ara?
There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to Ara. Dosages typically range from 1000mg to 2000mg, however lower and higher amounts still seem to produce good results. I recommend starting lower for your first cycle to get the best bang for buck. If you workout 3 days or less, it may be wise to start higher (1.5g+) rather than at the lower dosage. If working out 2 days or less, taking on off days is suggested.
Dose on workout days only if working out 3 or more days per week. Dose prior to a single session, or split the dosage when doing 2-a-days. I would advise against going higher than 2g per day from a cost:benefit perspective.
Q9: Any reasons Ara isnt for me?
If you suffer from any inflammatory condition, Ara use may exacerbate the issue therefore its best to seek medical advice before beginning a cycle.
If you are prone to sore joints, start lower and work up only if Ara does not exacerbate the issues. It may also be wise to avoid combining supplements that also promote sore joints.
A basic Ara set up stack:
1-2g Ara + 6g GMS or 15g Soy Lecithin granules + 2g Carnitine salt or <81mg Aspirin is a great starting point.
Where to get Arachidonic Acid:
Ara is found standalone in the supplement “X gels”
References: (in no particular order)
- Mr.Cooper69 ( used as a base for how Ara works and what to use with it)
- IronFist / neuron (the 'god father’of the new dosing strategies - all the dosing, science and other bits of info can be traced back to neuron)
The above is essentially a compiled list of data and information that I take no responsibility for discovering- it is simply all the info in one thread for easier reference