The effect of dietary arachidonic acid on platelet function, platelet fatty acid composition, and blood coagulation in humans

Lipids. 1997 Apr;32(4):421-5. doi: 10.1007/s11745-997-0055-7.


Arachidonic acid (AA) is the precursor of thromboxane and prostacyclin, two of the most active compounds related to platelet function. The effect of dietary AA on platelet function in humans is not understood although a previous study suggested dietary AA might have adverse physiological consequences on platelet function. Here normal healthy male volunteers (n = 10) were fed diets containing 1.7 g/d of AA for 50 d. The control diet contained 210 mg/d of AA. Platelet aggregation in the platelet-rich plasma was determined using ADP, collagen, and AA. No statistical differences could be detected between the aggregation before and after consuming the high-AA diet. The prothrombin time, partial thromboplastin time, and the antithrombin III levels in the subjects were determined also. There were no statistically significant differences in these three parameters when the values were compared before and after they consumed the high-AA diet. The in vivo bleeding times also did not show a significant difference before and after the subjects consumed the high-AA diet. Platelets exhibited only small changes in their AA content during the AA feeding period. The results from this study on blood clotting parameters and in vitro platelet aggregation suggest that adding 1.5 g/d of dietary AA for 50 d to a typical Western diet containing about 200 mg of AA produces no observable physiological changes in blood coagulation and thrombotic tendencies in healthy, adult males compared to the unsupplemented diet. Thus, moderate intakes of foods high in AA have few effects on blood coagulation, platelet function, or platelet fatty acid composition.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arachidonic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Arachidonic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Blood Coagulation / drug effects*
  • Blood Platelets / chemistry
  • Blood Platelets / drug effects*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Dietary Fats / pharmacology*
  • Fatty Acids / chemistry*
  • Food, Fortified*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Platelet Count / drug effects


  • Dietary Fats
  • Fatty Acids
  • Arachidonic Acid