Conjugated Linoleic Acid

While many people will hear “butter and beef” and immediately think about heart attacks and weight gain, but the truth is that all types of natural fats are healthy and even beneficial when you eat high-quality versions of them and have them in moderation.

Conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA, is the name given to a group of chemicals found in the fatty acid called linoleic acid. A few of the primary sources of CLA in the diet include full-fat dairy products, beef, and butter. But many people think of these foods as being “unhealthy” sources of saturated fat, but they also provide essential CLA, which is a type of polyunsaturated fat that we must obtain from our diets.

The human body needs all three types of fats, even saturated fats, for optimum health, they all have various functions, from pregnancy to digestion to brain function. Not only is it true that eating fat doesn’t make you fat, but the certain types of healthy fats are some of the best fat-burning foods available.

Quality is very crucial to fats, especially the kinds that come from animal products. CLA is known to fight cancer, block weight gain and help build muscle, and it’s almost exclusively found in high-quality beef and butter from healthy, grass-fed cows or other animals.

Conjugated Linoleic Acid or CLA Benefits Include:

  • Helping with weight loss
  • Muscle-building and strength improvements
  • Anticancer effects
  • Bone-building benefits
  • Growth and developmental support
  • Reversing atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
  • Improving digestion
  • Reducing food allergies and sensitivities

There isn’t a stable daily recommended dose of CLA, but studies show that the average daily intake is approximately 152–212 milligrams for non-vegetarian women and men. Because CLA is found in animal products, vegans and vegetarians usually have lower levels.

For certain benefits like reducing body fat in obese patients, a dose of 1.8 to 7 grams per day has been used successfully. But amounts on the smaller side of that range might be plenty since some research shows that greater than 3.4 grams per day don’t seem to offer any additional benefits.

 

How Does Conjugated Linoleic Acid Work?

All types of fats (lipids) — whether from animal products, eggs, dairy, oils, nuts, seeds or coconuts — are made up of fatty acids. Some fats are considered essential because the body cannot produce them on its own, while others are non-essential because the body can synthesize them from other nutrients. The essential fats we need to obtain from our diet include polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids (found in fish, seafood, eggs and some nuts or seeds) and polyunsaturated omega-6 fats (mostly found in vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds).

These two types both have significant but somewhat opposite, effects in the body; omega-3s are known as being anti-inflammatory while omega-6s are inflammatory. We need both kinds of essential fats to balance our immune, hormone, digestive and nervous system functions, which is why so many low-fat diet risks exist when someone skips out on eating enough healthy fats.

Ideally, the food would be equal regarding omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid intakes, but the standard American diet is much higher in omega-6s, which is why it’s known for being so “inflammatory.” Unfortunately, inflammation is at the root of most chronic diseases — including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, depression, autoimmune disorders, and dementia.

Among different types of fatty acids, there are saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are three names used to describe fats chemical structures. Each type provides different benefits and functions thanks to its particular effects on our bodies’ various systems. All fatty acids are strings of carbon atoms bonded to a hydrogen bond. When every carbon acid is bonded to hydrogen, saturated fat is formed; if one pair of carbon atoms form a bond a monounsaturated fat is formed; and when there are more than two unsaturated bonds a polyunsaturated fat is formed.

CLA is a type of polyunsaturated fat, specifically an omega-6 fatty acid. It’s believed that certain microbes that live in the gastrointestinal tract of ruminant animals convert linoleic acid into different forms of CLA through a biohydrogenation process. This process changes the position and configuration of the fat’s double bonds, resulting in a single bond between one or both of the two double bonds.

Usually, we describe a food source as being one type of fat (such as olive oil is monounsaturated or beef being saturated), but the truth is that nearly every food is made up of different kinds of fats. The primary omega-6 fat is called linoleic acid, and it’s found in foods including grains and vegetable oils (like corn, safflower, sunflower or canola oil). Omega-6 oils are now known to be overly consumed and therefore dangerous, mostly from people consuming lots of processed junk foods made with low-quality oils.

As you can see, both types of essential fats not only need to be obtained from the foods we eat, but it’s also very vital that we eat them in the right amounts. Conjugated linoleic acid is one type of omega-6 fat we can afford to eat more of because it tends to act like an omega-3 food in the body, helping lower inflammation and promote other aspects of health. It also helps turn off hunger (by controlling our hunger hormone called ghrelin) and can improve your ability to absorb nutrients. There are 28 different forms of CLA, but two seem to be the most important. These are called “c9, t11” and “t10, c12.”

 

CLA Helps Lose Weight

Almost everybody is looking for that magic pill to lose weight.  Some pills and supplements might work, but there is a secret: A source in the pharmaceutical industry says that in recent years the FDA has added a new requirement to weight loss studies that have caused some problems with drug development.  What do you think the new requirement would be? Increase safety standards? Nope. Longer interventions? Nope.

The new requirement they have is that any new weight loss drugs will have to be compared to a diet and exercise control. Before a drug was compared to a control group that got a placebo drug, didn’t need a diet, or exercise. Thus any findings showed the effect of the drug compared to nothing.

Since then, they have found drugs that help people lose weight, but the new control group fails way more.  Shocker – diet, and exercise help you lose weight, better than drugs.  What to do if you hit a weight loss plateau?  What happens if you are dieting and exercising and reach a plateau.  Unless you’re one of those weight-loss-commercial people, you’re probably not going to be running off to your doctor to get a prescription. So what should you do?  There are some supplements that look promising. One, in particular, is CLA.

CLA stands for conjugated linoleic acids. CLAs are a family of fatty acids that are different biochemical arrangements of linoleic acid. Unlike other fatty acids, they have a cis double bond and a trans double bond.  Yes, CLAs are trans fats. CLAs are naturally occurring trans fats that are produced during the digestion of unsaturated fats in cows and sheep.

Different types of CLA are named based on these cis and trans bonds, which appear along an 18 carbon chain.  If you have, c9,t11-CLA, then the cis double bond is at the 9th carbon, and the trans double bond is at the 11th carbon. With t10,c12-CLA the trans double bond is at the 10th carbon and the cis at the 12th.  Now, why should you care about these different versions of CLA? It seems that many different versions are better at helping you lose body fat than others.

Methods

This study was a part of a bigger study, though it looks like this is the first publication of that study.  There were 81 postmenopausal women with a BMI of less than 35, no hypertension, no chronic disease, no regular medication and has been over a year since their last menstruation.  There wasn’t any selection for physical activity, but this study was done in Denmark, and from other studies show that the average Dane is in pretty good shape compared to the rest of the world.

To make sure there were no differences in diet, everybody in the study had to fill out a 3-day food journal, recording everything they ate over those three days.

Blood and adipose tissue

Before and after the olive oil or CLA supplementation, the participants had their blood taken and adipose tissue biopsies were done.  A biopsy is not a very pleasant procedure. Researchers used a 16 or 17 gauge needle to take a fat tissue biopsy from the upper outer quadrant of the buttock – that’s right, they took a fat sample from the butt cheek.

Why should we bother with the blood and fat? The first reason is to see if the participants were taking their supplements; and second, to see what other hormones changed.  If the members were taking their supplements as prescribed, there would be an increase in certain fats. For example, if you take in more c9,t11 CLA, then behold you get more c9,t11 CLA in your blood plasma. Almost the same thing with fat, but the fat usually takes longer for changes to come up in an analysis.

Instead of keeping tabs making sure the participants take their supplements, the scientists will just check their blood, and if there was no change in blood fatty acids, then the participant wasn’t compliant.  The other reason why is to see if the blood sampling turned insulin or glucose levels, which could mean better or worse sugar regulation. If there were improvements in insulin or glucose levels, then the supplementation could help with diabetes.

Adipogenic gene expression

The fat sampling was also done to figure out whether supplementation would change adipogenic gene expression. Adipogenic gene expression means fat gene production which determines how much of the genes responsible for making fat are being made. This can be confusing, it isn’t what genes you have, but how much RNA and subsequently protein you’re making from the genes.  Genes are the design plans for the body, the same way a factory has design ideas for a product.

You have many different genes to build many different proteins, but just having the gene doesn’t mean your cells are making something. Just because you have design plans for building a car doesn’t mean you are producing a car. And just as a car factory decides to make more or fewer blue sedans, your cells choose to make more or fewer glucose transporters (GLUT4).

With Genetics, scientists can look at a few things:

1. Genes – such as what versions do you have compared to the rest of the world? Like if you have blue eyes, you have at least one gene that is different than somebody with brown eyes.

2. Gene expression – are you making the gene product?
For example, almost everybody makes a certain amount of melanin (the stuff that pigments your skin). If you’re particularly pale, you aren’t making very much, but you still have the gene for melanin. If you go to some place warm and sunny and start tanning, then you start making more melanin, and voila, you get darker.

So with genes you either have them, or you don’t, but gene expression is variable. Sometimes you make a lot of a gene product, and sometimes you make none of the gene product.

All About CLA

CLA is becoming one of the popular supplements for its supposed benefits for losing weight. In this post, we’ll be discussing what CLA is and what the benefits are, this way then you can make a decision on whether it’s a supplement you should be adding to your diet.

 

What is CLA?

CLA is a type of fatty acid supplement that comes from LA (Linoleic Acid). This is considered an Omega-6 fatty acid that is highly essential for human health. But almost all of the omega-6 fatty acids that are found in the foods we eat, almost all come from meat and dairy products, such as beef and milk, but there are pills made to help supplement the intake of CLA to help get the correct doses and for an easy, fast way to get your nutrients. CLA is primarily found in much higher amounts in animal products like dairy and meat from animals that have been grass-fed.

Conjugated linoleic acid is a trans fatty acid and a cis fatty acid at the same time. The cis bond that happens causes a lower melting point and ostensibly which are the observed beneficial health effects. Unlike other trans fatty acids, it may have beneficial effects on human health. CLA is conjugated, and in the United States, trans linkages in a conjugated system are not counted as trans fats for nutritional regulations and labeling. CLA and some trans isomers of oleic acid are produced by things called microorganisms in the rumens of ruminants. Non-ruminants, like humans, produce certain isomers of CLA from trans isomers of oleic acids, like vaccenic acid, which is converted to CLA by delta-9-desaturase.

In healthy people, CLA and the related conjugated linolenic acid (CLNA) isomers are bioconverted from linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid, respectively, mainly by Bifidobacterium bacteria strains inhabiting the gastrointestinal tract. However, this bioconversion may not occur at any significant level in those with a digestive disease, gluten sensitivity, and dysbiosis.

 

What are the benefits of CLA?

CLA has many health benefits for the human body, with one of the most known and talked about is its ability to decrease or reduce tumors in size and quantity in the body by over 50%. Although it’s most known for its capacity to help cure tumor patients, it also has shown remarkable results in the treatment of some cancers, such as breast cancer and skin cancer.

When it comes to bodybuilding and healthy living, one of the many advantages of CLA supplements is its ability to increase insulin levels in the body and mimics the effects or benefits or a counterfeit diabetic medicine or drug. CLA is also one of the best fat burners on the market available to buy, while also being stimulant free as some other forms of fat burners are. Many athletes commonly use CLA by itself or combined with a fat burner to a specific and strict diet and exercise routine.

When people consume CLA, it has shown to be extremely helpful in reducing body fat, which is why many bodybuilders and nutritionists will use CLA today to help prepare for contests and photo shoots and helping clients. What’s amazing with CLA, is unlike a low-calorie diet, it will allow you to lose a significant amount of weight, while at the same time maintaining or even increasing lean body mass.

When it comes to losing fat, CLA works, it helps break the fatty acid bonds within the body and increases your metabolic rate or metabolism by a small amount. This is beneficial naturally for any athlete that is trying to lose weight or become more toned and ripped.

Building muscle is another advantage of CLA. The amount of lean muscle mass you will gain on CLA will be minimal, but every bit counts because the more lean muscle mass you have in your body, the faster your metabolism will be, which results in a greater loss of fat over a period. CLA also makes it easier to maintain a leaner physique year round while combined with proper dieting.

CLA is one of the best supplements any athlete or healthy person can take on a daily basis to help improve his/her physique and physical function while being risk-free to the body. When consuming CLA regularly, it can contribute to enhancing your immune system functions, so you’re less likely to become ill, while also helping diminish food related allergies and symptoms from those allergic to foods. Although it won’t make an allergy go away, it has been shown to reduce the effects of an allergic reaction to a food or nutrient.

 

What foods contain CLA?

The most accessible and convenient source of CLA is to supplement with CLA capsules; it is also found in high amounts in some food products. These include:

  • Lamb
  • Butter
  • Cottage cheese
  • Milk
  • Grass Fed Beef

By consuming these foods in moderation, you end up increasing your daily intake of CLA, which is why these foods are seen as essentials in a healthy person diet to create and maintain the leanest physique possible.

Since some of these foods are either hard to get consistently good quality or to consume too much of one is not good for the body. This is why scientists and researchers highly suggest taking a supplement. It is easy to know the dosage and know you are getting enough of the CLA that you need.

 

In Conclusion

Now you know what CLA is all about and why many people take this supplement regularly year round to help stay in shape and remain healthy.  CLA is ideal for any individual of all ages. If taken regularly alongside a proper exercise routine, the benefits CLA has to offer on improving your physique, and physical health is unbelievable to anyone and everyone. I would highly recommend adding CLA to your list of daily supplements to take if you haven’t already.

6 Excellent Benefits of Using CLA

1. Helps with Weight Loss and Fat-Burning

People find it hard to believe, but it turns out butter is a fat-burning food. CLA has shown to help fat loss in many animals and human studies when in its concentrated form it’s one of the most popular weight loss supplements in the world. According to a 2009 report that was published in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, it is believed that CLA reduces fat because of its impact on, energy metabolism, adipogenesis, inflammation, lipid metabolism, and apoptosis.

Supplementation with a CLA mixture or the isomer alone decreases body fat mass, according to a result of numerous animal studies. Within the two major isomers, 10,12 specifically seems to be responsible for the antiobesity effects of CLA.

Within human studies, the results for CLA on weight loss have been auspicious. One study found that supplementation of a CLA mixture in overweight and obese people with three to four grams a day for about 24 weeks decreased body fat mass and increased the lean body mass.

Some people believe that they experience better results than others due to the fact they include CLA isomer combination rather than individual isomers, CLA dose and duration of treatment, gender, weight, age and metabolic status of the subjects. One possible potential mechanism by which CLA reduces body fat mass might be that it will decrease energy intake or increases energy expenditure. A study that was demonstrated that mice supplemented with a CLA mixture for four weeks reduced their food intake and experienced liver function improvements, although studies are still happening in humans.

2. Regulates Blood Sugar and Helps Improve Insulin Function

There’s substantial evidence that an inverse association exists between CLA intake in someone’s diet and diabetes risk. The theory is that CLA may be involved in insulin regulation. We also know that the best food sources with CLA, include healthy fats like butter or grass-fed beef, which can stabilize blood sugar and help someone stick to a low-sugar, low-carb diet that is very beneficial for controlling diabetes.

3. Improves Immune Function and Could Potentially Help Fight Cancer

Conjugated lipoic acid has shown immune-enhancing effects and anticarcinogenic activities in several animal studies. CLA that is in saturated fatty foods could offset the adverse effects of the saturated fat content and benefit everything from blood sugar control to hormone regulation to even natural cancer prevention.

Researchers repeatedly found that the quality of fatty acids in someone’s diet is exceedingly important for reducing overall cancer risk, and conjugated linoleic acids have proved to increase the health in several ways, especially lowering inflammation. Lower inflammation is a sign of less free radical damage or oxidative stress, and that is linked to lower cancer risk.

CLA modulates immune and inflammatory responses as well as improve bone mass. Researchers found the effects of conjugated linoleic acid for preventing breast cancer is somewhat conflicting, but early research shows that higher intake of CLA from natural foods is linked with a lower risk of developing breast cancer. Other study results indicate that it can be very beneficial for fighting cancer of the digestive organs and can improve detoxification via healthier liver function too.

4. Reduces Allergies and Asthma Symptoms

Consuming CLA from food or taking CLA supplements for 12 weeks seems to improve symptoms and overall health in people with seasonal allergy symptoms. Some research shows that people with asthma could use CLA to be a natural treatment method for asthma-related symptoms. Twelve weeks of supplementation seems to improve airway sensitivity and better cardio.

5.  Improves Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms

Early research has been showing that CLA is beneficial for lowering inflammation and autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis. Taking CLA alone or along with other supplements like vitamin E benefits those with arthritis by reducing symptoms, including pain and morning stiffness. Pain and inflammation including swelling have been improved for adults with arthritis taking CLA compared to their pre-treatment symptoms or people not taking CLA, meaning CLA can naturally treat arthritis.

6.   Improve Muscle Strength

Some researchers found that taking conjugated linoleic acid alone or along with supplements like creatine and whey protein can help increase strength and improve lean tissue mass. This is why CLA is added to some bodybuilding supplements, protein powders or weight loss formulas.

Best Sources of Conjugated Linoleic Acid

According to a report published in The Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, the top food sources of CLA include:

  • Butter from grass-fed cows (ideally organic)
  • Full-fat, preferably raw, dairy products like cream, milk, yogurt or cheese
  • Grass-fed beef (preferably organic)
  • Also found in dairy products from sheep or goats, in addition to cows
  • Found in smaller amounts in grass-fed lamb, veal, turkey and seafood
  • The proportion of CLA ranges from 0.34–1.07 percent of the total fat found in dairy products, making it the highest source which is followed by about 0.12—0.68 percent of the total fat in raw or processed beef products. Although, when it comes to animal products, the breed and the in particular quality of the animal’s diet and lifestyle affect the fat that you will obtain when you eat the animal. In other words, not all beef or dairy is created equal when it comes to supplying us with healthy fats.

What the animal was eating and the conditions it was living in highly affect how much CLA and other healthy fats or nutrients it supplies. Even the season, quality of the soil on the farms and age of the animal affect the CLA content. For example, one study found that the CLA content in beef and dairy from grass-fed cows is 300–500 percent higher compared to grain-fed cows!

Grass-fed beef contains much higher levels of CLA and even more omega-3 fats and vitamins than meat from factory farm-raised animals. The same goes for dairy products we get from cows, such as cream or butter. The best way to find high-quality grass-fed beef is to purchase it directly from small town farms, whether visiting farmer’s markets, joining a community-sponsored agriculture group or even looking online. If you can’t find the perfect product, for example, 100 percent organic and grass-fed beef, do the best you can while also focusing on limiting industrial and human-made fats from your diet.

CLA Compounds

Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is highly found in fats from ruminants, and it appears to modify the body composition and cardiometabolic risk factors favorably. The capacity of CLA to reduce the body fat levels as well as its beneficial actions on the glycemic profile, atherosclerosis and cancer has already been proved in experimental models. Furthermore, CLA supplementation may modulate the immune function, help re-synthesize of glycogen and potentiate the bone mineralization. CLA supplements also could increase the lipolysis and decrease the accumulation of fatty acids on the adipose tissue; the punitive mechanisms involved may be its action in reducing the lipase lipoprotein activity and to increase the carnitine-palmitoil-transferase-1 activity, its interaction with PPARγ, and to raise the expression of UCP-1. Although studies made in human have shown some benefits of CLA supplementation as the weight loss, the results are still discordant. Some have shown adverse effects, such as the glucose metabolism and lipid profile. The primary purpose of this article is to demonstrate the available data and benefits of CLA on the energetic metabolism and body composition, emphasizing action mechanisms.

Introduction

Though many researchers have studied and found significant evidence about functional foods, their benefits to health have often been talked about, calling the attention of the scientific community. Even though several studies were performed claiming that functional foods are essential for health and have helped reduce the risk of developing various chronic diseases. This useful property concerns the metabolic or physiological role played by the nutrient or non-nutrient in growth, development, maturity and other standard functions of the human organism. However, studies on nutraceuticals, which are foods with a medicinal function lack further explanation, especially regarding the associated protective effects. The doses indicated generate doubts that these results will be achieved, and also regarding the possible adverse effects of their long term use.

Many different classes of substance that are naturally found in foods or produced by food technology have functional properties. One of the substances is conjugated linoleic acid or CLA, which is a fatty acid which gives a linoleic acid isomer (C18:2, n-6) and has been considered an anti-obesity agent, and can be useful in the weight reduction process. Though the initial result that was found only in an animal model, more recent research on humans suggests that CLA would act to reduce adiposity through modulating properties in the lipid metabolism. But some doubts remain as to the action mechanics of CLA in adipocytes, which leads to the reduction of body fat and, the safety of supplements of this compound.

Which means the purpose of this review is to demonstrate the effect of CLA supplementation on body composition, in particular on the reduction of adiposity, focusing on possible action mechanisms.

 

Conjugated linoleic acid

Conjugated linoleic acid or CLA is a term that describes a group of fatty acids with 18 atoms of carbon, and the geometric isomers consist of linoleic acid. This is a common name given to a group of position isomers with two double bonds separated by a methylene group. This conjugation of the double bond is generally in positions 9 and 11 or 10 and 12 and may be a cis or trans configuration.

Isomer structure represents CLA 10-trans and 12-cis; indicate CLA 9-cis and 11-trans; C18:2 9-cis and 12-cis
CLA is produced naturally in the digestive tract of animals such as cattle, goats, sheep, buffalo, and to a lesser degree in pigs, chickens, and turkeys. The synthesis occurs due to fermentative bacteria, like Butyrivibrio fibrinogens, which isomerizes the linoleic acid in CLA or by synthesis via α9-desaturase of 11-trans octadecanoic acid. The fat in beef contains about 1.7 to 10.8 mg CLA/g of fat with 9-cis and 11-trans isomers. It is also found in dairy products like milk and derivatives.

CLA can be obtained using enzyme α9-desaturase which promotes the desaturation of the 11-trans octadecanoic acid. Many different isomers of CLA such as 11-trans and 9-cis are the best acids that we know of because they are found in food. It is also possible to obtain CLA in a modern form, through the partial hydrogenation of linoleic acid or by thermal treatments, aiming to produce a compound with maximum biological activity and with a defined chemical composition.

CLA has a significant role in the lipid metabolism, especially as regards the oxidative cellular system, which explains many physiological properties of fatty acids. The action on the lipid metabolism is associated with the inhibition of entry of the glucose into the adipocytes and may lead to changing the insulin metabolism and cause situations of hyperinsulinemia, as well as the increase of inflammatory markers.

There are many investigations to evaluate the influences of CLA on the energetic metabolism, promoting significant changes in the lipid metabolism and body composition. As a result, some effects can be cited such as reduction of body fat, improved insulin resistance, anti-thrombogenic and anticarcinogenic effects, reduction of atherosclerosis, improved lipid profile, modulation of the immune system and stimulation of bone mineralization, and also reduced blood glucose. The most studied CLA supplement effect is the capacity to alter the body composition, promoting an increase in lean mass and reduction of the fat mass.

 

6 Benefits of Conjugated Linoleic Acid

1. Helps with Weight Loss and Fat-Burning

People find it hard to believe, but it turns out butter is a fat-burning food. CLA has shown to help fat loss in many animals and human studies when in its concentrated form it’s one of the most popular weight loss supplements in the world. According to a 2009 report that was published in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, it is believed that CLA reduces fat because of its impact on, energy metabolism, adipogenesis, inflammation, lipid metabolism, and apoptosis.

Supplementation with a CLA mixture or the isomer alone decreases body fat mass, according to a result of numerous animal studies. Within the two major isomers, 10,12 specifically seems to be responsible for the antiobesity effects of CLA.

Within human studies, the results for CLA on weight loss have been auspicious. One study found that supplementation of a CLA mixture in overweight and obese people with three to four grams a day for about 24 weeks decreased body fat mass and increased the lean body mass.

Some people believe that they experience better results than others due to the fact they include CLA isomer combination rather than individual isomers, CLA dose and duration of treatment, gender, weight, age and metabolic status of the subjects. One possible potential mechanism by which CLA reduces body fat mass might be that it will decrease energy intake or increases energy expenditure. A study that was demonstrated that mice supplemented with a CLA mixture for four weeks reduced their food intake and experienced liver function improvements, although studies are still happening in humans.

2. Regulates Blood Sugar and Helps Improve Insulin Function

There’s substantial evidence that an inverse association exists between CLA intake in someone’s diet and diabetes risk. The theory is that CLA may be involved in insulin regulation. We also know that the best food sources with CLA, include healthy fats like butter or grass-fed beef, which can stabilize blood sugar and help someone stick to a low-sugar, low-carb diet that is very beneficial for controlling diabetes.

3. Improves Immune Function and Could Potentially Help Fight Cancer

Conjugated lipoic acid has shown immune-enhancing effects and anticarcinogenic activities in several animal studies. CLA that is in saturated fatty foods could offset the adverse effects of the saturated fat content and benefit everything from blood sugar control to hormone regulation to even natural cancer prevention.

Researchers repeatedly found that the quality of fatty acids in someone’s diet is exceedingly important for reducing overall cancer risk, and conjugated linoleic acids have proved to increase the health in several ways, especially lowering inflammation. Lower inflammation is a sign of less free radical damage or oxidative stress, and that is linked to lower cancer risk.

CLA modulates immune and inflammatory responses as well as improve bone mass. Researchers found the effects of conjugated linoleic acid for preventing breast cancer is somewhat conflicting, but early research shows that higher intake of CLA from natural foods is linked with a lower risk of developing breast cancer. Other study results indicate that it can be very beneficial for fighting cancer of the digestive organs and can improve detoxification via healthier liver function too.

4. Reduces Allergies and Asthma Symptoms

Consuming CLA from food or taking CLA supplements for 12 weeks seems to improve symptoms and overall health in people with seasonal allergy symptoms. Some research shows that people with asthma could use CLA to be a natural treatment method for asthma-related symptoms. Twelve weeks of supplementation seems to improve airway sensitivity and better cardio.

5. Improves Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms

Early research has been showing that CLA is beneficial for lowering inflammation and autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis. Taking CLA alone or along with other supplements like vitamin E benefits those with arthritis by reducing symptoms, including pain and morning stiffness. Pain and inflammation including swelling have been improved for adults with arthritis taking CLA compared to their pre-treatment symptoms or people not taking CLA, meaning CLA can naturally treat arthritis.

6. Improve Muscle Strength

Some researchers found that taking conjugated linoleic acid alone or along with supplements like creatine and whey protein can help increase strength and improve lean tissue mass. This is why CLA is added to some bodybuilding supplements, protein powders or weight loss formulas.

 

Best Sources of Conjugated Linoleic Acid

According to a report published in The Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, the top food sources of CLA include:

Butter from grass-fed cows (ideally organic)
Full-fat, preferably raw, dairy products like cream, milk, yogurt or cheese
Grass-fed beef (preferably organic)
Also found in dairy products from sheep or goats, in addition to cows
Found in smaller amounts in grass-fed lamb, veal, turkey and seafood
The proportion of CLA ranges from 0.34–1.07 percent of the total fat found in dairy products, making it the highest source which is followed by about 0.12—0.68 percent of the total fat in raw or processed beef products. Although, when it comes to animal products, the breed and the in particular quality of the animal’s diet and lifestyle affect the fat that you will obtain when you eat the animal. In other words, not all beef or dairy is created equal when it comes to supplying us with healthy fats.

What the animal was eating and the conditions it was living in highly affect how much CLA and other healthy fats or nutrients it supplies. Even the season, quality of the soil on the farms and age of the animal affect the CLA content. For example, one study found that the CLA content in beef and dairy from grass-fed cows is 300–500 percent higher compared to grain-fed cows!

Grass-fed beef contains much higher levels of CLA and even more omega-3 fats and vitamins than meat from factory farm-raised animals. The same goes for dairy products we get from cows, such as cream or butter. The best way to find high-quality grass-fed beef is to purchase it directly from small town farms, whether visiting farmer’s markets, joining a community-sponsored agriculture group or even looking online. If you can’t find the perfect product, for example, 100 percent organic and grass-fed beef, do the best you can while also focusing on limiting industrial and human-made fats from your diet.

According to a study, the effect of CLA is not the same in all animal models. Rats supplemented with 0.5 % of CLA, for instance, presented a small, but fast (7 days) reduction of adipose tissue, compared to mice.

Scientists evaluated the effects of supplementation with CLA on the body composition of healthy Wistar rats supplemented for three weeks with CLA at the concentrations of 1%, 2% and 4% on the daily supplement of the diet and control group which was 2% linoleic acid. At the end of the period, the groups that were supplemented at a concentration of 2% and 4% with CLA had a bigger body fat reduction compared to the control group.

Other researchers evaluated that coconut oil, corn oil, and CLA. In this study, 28 rats were allocated to 4 different diets, which were supplementation with coconut oil, and CLA, corn oil and maize oil and CLA. After 28 days, total cholesterol, HDL–c and triglycerides were evaluated. It was found that the triglycerides diminished in the diet supplemented with coconut oil and CLA, and HDL-c decreased with the maize oil diet. The total cholesterol concentrations were lowest in the rats on the coconut oil and CLA diet, but not in the diet with corn oil and CLA. This study suggests that the CLA might diminish adiposity and improve the lipid profile under some conditions.

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