Arachidonic acid is a polyunsaturated fat with the chemical structure 20:4(ω-6). Arachidonic acid plays an essential role in the growth and repair of skeletal muscle tissue. It is an essential dietary component in the muscle hypertrophy process.
Whenever you lift weights, the damaged muscle cells signal enzymes to flock towards the damaged tissue to free arachidonic acid from the intercellular membranes. The freed arachidonic acid is used to create localized enzymes called prostaglandins. Prostaglandins regulate in the inflammation processes that stimulates the growth of skeletal muscle cells. These are the same enzymes that cause the inflammation and pain you feel post-training.
Small amounts of Arachidonic acid are naturally present in foods. However, the amount is pretty much negligible. For example, A 3-ounce serving of beef roast contains only 0.042 gram of arachidonic acid. One large hard-boiled egg contains 0.074 gram of arachidonic acid. The only good food source of Arachidonic Acid is found in organ meat, particularly the brain and liver..
Under normal conditions, weight training quickly depletes the levels of stored arachidonic acid in muscle tissue. Without arachidonic acid, you lose the short-term inflammation essential for building new muscle tissue. For this reason, many researchers theorize that low arachidonic acid levels are one of the primary factors contributing to the “plateau” effect in resistance training.
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