Effect of dietary arachidonic acid supplementation on acute muscle adaptive responses to resistance exercise in trained men: A randomized controlled trial

Cameron J. Mitchell, Randall F. D'Souza, Vandre C. Figueiredo, Alex Chan, Kirsten Aasen, Brenan Durainayagam, Sarah Mitchell, Andrew J. Sinclair, Ingrid M. Egner, Truls Raastad, Cameron Smith David, James F. Markworth

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8 Citations (Scopus)


Arachidonic acid (ARA), a polyunsaturated -6 fatty acid, acts as precursor to a number of prostaglandins with potential roles in muscle anabolism. It was hypothesized that ARA supplementation might enhance the early anabolic response to resistance exercise (RE) by increasing muscle protein synthesis (MPS) via mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway activation and/or the late anabolic response by modulating ribosome biogenesis and satellite cell expansion. Nineteen men with ≥1 yr of resistance-training experience were randomized to consume either 1.5 g daily ARA or a corn-soy-oil placebo in a double-blind manner for 4 wk. Participants then undertook fasted RE (8 sets each of leg press and extension at 80% 1-repetition maximum), with vastus lateralis biopsies obtained before exercise, immediately postexercise, and at 2, 4, and 48 h of recovery. MPS (measured via stable isotope infusion) was not different between groups (P = 0.212) over the 4-h recovery period. mTOR pathway members p70 S6 kinase and S6 ribosomal protein were phosphorylated postexercise (P - 0.05), with no difference between groups. 45S preribosomal RNA increased 48 h after exercise only in ARA (P = 0.012). Neural cell adhesion moleculepositive satellite cells per fiber increased 48 h after exercise (P = 0.013), with no difference between groups (P = 0.331). Prior ARA supplementation did not alter the acute anabolic response to RE in previously resistance-trained men; however, at 48 h of recovery, ribosome biogenesis was stimulated only in the ARA group. The findings do not support a mechanistic link between ARA and shortterm anabolism, but ARA supplementation in conjunction with resistance training may stimulate increases in translational capacity. NEW & NOTEWORTHY Four weeks of daily arachidonic acid supplementation in trained men did not alter their acute muscle protein synthetic or anabolic signaling response to resistance exercise. However, 48 h after exercise, men supplemented with arachidonic acid showed greater ribosome biogenesis and a trend toward greater change in satellite cell content. Chronic arachidonic acid supplementation does not appear to regulate the acute anabolic response to resistance exercise but may augment muscle adaptation in the following days of recovery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1080-1091
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Muscle protein synthesis
  • Omega 6
  • Resistance training
  • Ribosome biogenesis
  • Satellite cells

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