Arachidonic Acid Stimulates Brown Fat
Bodybuilders have been enjoying the anabolic and body recompositioning benefits of arachidonic acid (ARA) for nearly a decade now (X-Factor). While the muscle-building properties of this supplement are fairly well understood, being mitigated through a predictable pathway ARA release and prostaglandin biosynthesis, the fat loss effects of this supplement have the subject of more speculation. A study published this month, however, may shed more light on this side of ARA.
The focus of the investigation was brown fat, a particular type of fat cell that is highly specialized for the generation of body heat. Brown fat is thought of as a beneficial type of fat, being capable of burning calories and potentially lowering stores of the more prominent and deleterious “white fat”. In this experiment, researchers incubated rat brown fat preadipocytes with arachidonic acid. These are cells that can mature into new brown fat cells, depending on the metabolic needs of the body.
In this experiment, arachidonic acid was found to be a potent trigger for new brown fat cell formation. This result should substantially increase the thermogenic capacity of brown fat stores. If this is one of the effects responsible for fat loss when humans supplement arachidonic acid, it implies that ARA may help favorably change the distribution of fat cells within the body. At least at some level, an individual might be left with a higher capacity for thermogenesis, and greater resistance to new fat deposition. More study is needed on the potential thermogenic and body recompositioning effects of arachidonic acid.
Reference: Biochim Biophys Acta 2012 Jul 2. [ePub ahead of print]