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Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is a fatty acid that is naturally found in beef and dairy products. CLA levels in dairy products may be modified by changing the animals' diets. Most CLA dietary supplements are made from safflower oil. However, CLA is also found in other vegetable oils, including hydrogenated soybean oil.
Scientific interest in CLA began in the 1980s as a result of early evidence suggesting anticancer effects. Since this time, interest in CLA has broadened to areas of weight loss, exercise performance enhancement, and altered body composition. Conjugated linoleic acid is now a wide-selling supplement marketed to reduce obesity and body fat. Conjugated linoleic acid has also been studied for its effects on allergy, asthma, hair loss, heart disease risk, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, immune function, and rheumatoid arthritis. The two dominant isomers, or forms, of CLA that have been studied are the cis-9, trans-11 (c9,t11) and the trans-10, cis-12 (t10,c12) forms.
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Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is one of the good trans fats, which we get from beef or dairy products; it lowers the melting point for fat metabolism. Watch Eva Selhub, MD, explain how CLA works to increase your body's ability to burn fat faster.
Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is a term that groups various compounds (scientifically speaking, isomers) that linoleic acid may exist as. Linoleic acid is an omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA, which is not be confused with omega-3 PUFA.
Linoleic acid is synthesized to CLA in the digestive tract of ruminant animals. CLA is found in ruminant animal food sources, such as beef, lamb, and dairy foods like milk, cheese and yogurt.
CLA is actually classified as a naturally occurring trans fat that is not to be mistaken for man-made trans fats that are formed during the processing of many packaged foods. CLA is believed to have beneficial effects on heart disease, diabetes, energy distribution and bone health, but this was mostly seen in studies on animals. So it should not be assumed that CLA supplements would have the same effect, either positive or negative, in humans
It is also not advised to purposely increase CLA intake through food sources as one would be increasing the intake of fatty foods. CLA may be may also be found as an ergogenic aid, a nutritional product that enhances performance. But it has not shown to enhance performance, according to the position paper on “Nutrition and Athletic Performance” by the Academy of Nutrition and dietetics, the American College of Sports Medicine, and Dietitians of Canada.
Before taking any supplement, always discuss with your physician or health care professional the possible risks and benefits associated with the supplement.
Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is a slightly altered form of the essential fatty acid, linoleic acid. It occurs naturally in meat and dairy products from grass-fed cows. It was discovered in 1978 when researchers at the University of Wisconsin were seeking to find possible cancer-causing compounds in meat that are produced with cooking. Instead, they found what appears to be the anticancer compound CLA. In preliminary animal and test-tube studies, CLA has shown evidence that it might reduce the risk of cancer at several sites, including the breast, the prostate, the colon, the lung, the skin, and the stomach. Whether CLA produces a similar protective effect in humans is yet to be determined.
Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.