Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLAs)

What is Conjugated Linoleic Acid?

CLA, an essential fatty acid, is an isomer of linoleic acid, which is an essential polyunsaturated fatty acid found in many vegetable oils.  An isomer is a compound with the same molecular formula but different structural formula.


Where is CLA found?

CLAs are found naturally in eggs, milk fat, beef, and the meat of cud chewing animals, called ruminant animals.  Kangaroo meat has the highest concentration of CLAs.  CLAs are much higher in grass-fed ruminants than grain-fed ones.  It can also be produced synthetically by exposing plant oils that are rich in linoleic acid (like safflower and soybean oil) to a base and heat.


What are the benefits of CLA?

CLAs have been found to be effective in reducing the risk of colorectal cancer and improving body composition in people who are obese or overweight.  Studies have shown that it helps decrease body fat and increase lean body mass.  Other possible uses are for bodybuilding, breast cancer, cachexia (weight loss due to disease), decreasing food allergies, and atherosclerosis.


Are there interactions between CLA and food, herbs or other supplements?

There is some evidence that CLAs may increase the storage of Vitamin A in the liver and breast tissues.


Are there side effects of CLA?

Some people report GI issues while taking CLAs, such as diarrhea, nausea, fatigue, and dyspepsia.  There is also concern that CLA supplements may create or worsen insulin resistance in extremely overweight individuals, which may worsen diabetes and or put them at an increased risk for developing diabetes.

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