What Is Arachidonic Acid (20:4 n-6) & What Foods Can I Find It In?

3D-model of Arachidonic acid (20:4 n-6) (src)

Arachidonic acid, AA, 20:4 n-6, also known as arachidonate.

It’s a polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid.

It’s needed for maintaining normal health.

When arachidonic acid has been processed, most AA is not longer present as a free acid.

Table of Contents

Arachidonic Acid Is Conditionally Essential

Arachidonic acid is a polyunsaturated, essential fatty acid. (source )

Arachidonic acid functions as an important mediator of second-messenger pathways within the brain. (source )

Arachidonic acid cannot be synthesized in the body, and therefore must be included in the diet from various food sources. (source )

But Arachidonic acid is not counted as one of the essential fatty acids.

Because it only become essential if a deficiency in linoleic acid exists or if an inability to convert linoleic acid to arachidonic acid occurs.

Arachidonic Acid Needed For Health

Arachidonic acid is a very important nutrient that we need for maintaining health.

It's anti-inflammatory and important for your immune system.

Arachidonic acid is important for the synthesis of prostaglandins, thromboxanes, leukotrienes, and related bioactive compounds.

These compounds regulate diverse processes such as blood pressure, inflammation, cell growth and differentiation, and pain.

These and other research-backed benefits you might get from consuming arachidonic acid, you can find in Arachidonic Acid (20:4 n-6): 7 Research-Backed Benefits .

Arachidonic Acid In Meat

Arachidonic acid is only found in animal-derived foods because plants cannot synthesize it.

It means that you can find natural arachidonic acid in meat, poultry, eggs, fish, and dairy foods. (source )

Foods You Can Find Arachidonic Acid (20:4 n-6) In

You find Arachidonic Acid (20:4 n-6) mostly in American Indian and Alaska native food, beef, and lamb, veal, and game products.

Examples of food sources include

Foods in our nutrition tool

You can find regularly updated top-ranked lists of foods for over 200+ nutrients in our nutrition tool.

If you are interested in what foods contain the most Arachidonic Acid (20:4 n-6) we recommend you visit our tool.

Here's our top-ranked list of foods that contain Arachidonic Acid (20:4 n-6).

Sara Niemelä

co-founder Care Omnia, Head Content Creator

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Nutrition is my passion. I've spent thousands upon thousands of hours reading, analyzing, categorizing and comparing research studies.

I’m a wife and a mother of three. I enjoy the outdoors, cooking, and spending time with my family.