Allergic to Dogs and Allergies in Dogs Resource

Arachidonic Acid and Allergies

With respect to dog allergies treatment and nutrition and dietary supplements, the following information on Arachidonic acid is found within the section on natural allergy treatment for people allergic to dogs.

What is Arachidonic Acid?

Arachidonic acid is a polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid that can be synthesized in the body (this ability varies between mammals) from omega-6 (Linoleic acid) or can be found in some foods (See also: Eicosanoid Inflammatory Mediators (Leukotrienes and Prostaglandins) and Allergies and Omega-3, Omega-6 and Allergies)

Arachidonic Acid and Allergies

Arachidonic Acid Sources

Arachidonic acid occurs naturally in egg yolks, red meat and organ meat, as well as fish and shellfish. The amount of arachidonic acid found in food varies, for example:

Little or None Moderate Most
Fruit e.g. nuts
Vegetables e.g. beans, grain
Processed bakery goods Oily fish
Animal meats


Recommended Daily Allowance of Arachidonic Acid                                              

There is currently no formal recommended daily allowance (RDA) for fatty acids such as omega-6 or arachidonic acid. The amount of arachidonic acid in the body is subject to a multitude of variables interacting dynamically, and the optimal amount required may not only vary on an individual basis, but even then, differ from day to day. For example, the requirement for essential fatty acids may depend on body mass, disease or stress.

Function and Benefit of Arachidonic Acid

Arachidonic acid is involved with muscles (development, growth and power), cellular membranes and their communication, as well as the health and activity of the brain and liver.

Evidence Concerning Arachidonic Acid Benefits

The issue surrounding a possible relationship between arachidonic acid and inflammation is not straightforward; arachidonic acid has the ability to produce both pro (e.g. prostaglandin E2 – Morimoto et al. 2014) and anti-inflammatory (e.g. lipoxin A4 – Pamplona et al. 2012) molecules depending on the way it is metabolized. Furthermore, certain molecules produced may, in themselves, have the ability to exhibit either pro or anti-inflammatory characteristics (e.g. Prostacyclin (PGI2) – Stitham et al. 2011).

It has been suggested that the Western diet, which is high in animal fats and processed foods, causes an increased risk of inflammation per se due to an excess production of arachidonic acid (Omega-3 and Omega-6 Balance). However, a consensus of opinion regarding a link between the dietary (food or supplements) intake of arachidonic acid and inflammation in a healthy person, has not yet been established e.g. contrast the conclusion of Adam et al. 2003 (anti-inflammatory effects of a diet low in arachidonic acid) with Roberts et al. 2007 (arachidonic acid supplementation may lessen the inflammatory response to physical training).

Side Effects of Arachidonic Acid

Though arachidonic acid is sometimes categorized by the popular phrase, a “bad fat”, it does serve an important role in the body. However, it’s very much a question of balance concerning this substance. Too little arachidonic acid may result in poor growth and a reduced ability to fight infections. Too much appears to lead to elevated cholesterol levels, arterial plaque and cardiovascular problems as well as an increased inflammatory response associated with healing and diseased states.

Arachidonic Acid and Allergies

The symptoms of allergies are varied, and controlling irritation and inflammation is one aspect to treating them. However, as we have discovered, the issues concerning arachidonic acid and inflammation are complex, not fully understood and subject to differences of opinion at the present time.

Examples of research on the topic include:

Wakai et al. 2001 reported that higher levels of omega-6 increased the risk of hay fever symptoms.

Thomson et al. 2014 found arachidonic acid metabolites in asthma are altered by cigarette smoking.

Kakutani et al. 2014 concluded “the effect of arachidonic acid intake on asthma risk is unclear at present” in their review of relevant observational studies.


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