12 Benefits of Conjugated Linoleic Acid

12 Benefits of Conjugated Linoleic Acid

Try saying it five times fast and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is as much a tongue twister as it is a ghost in the supplement world. Yet, the benefits of CLA, a slightly altered form of omega-6, just may raise its popularity right up to your super food status.

The word ‘conjugated’ here means that a variety of forms of linoleic acid have been metabolized together for optimal results. Along with other EFA’s (essential fatty acids) like omega-3, CLA could be a worthwhile dietary choice.

Take a gander at these 12 benefits of conjugated linoleic acid to see if it might be a consideration to enhance your health.

Plaque Fighter

The buildup of fat along artery walls is responsible for the epidemic of heart disease afflicting millions of Americans today. CLA could be a tool in reducing plaque buildup according to a report by News Medical stating that,

“Research has shown that CLA has a significant inhibitory effect on the establishment and progression of atherosclerosis in animal models. Both LDL cholesterol to HDL cholesterol and total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol ratios are reduced when CLA is fed to the test animals.”

Livestrong also cites analyzation by Pennington Biomedical Research Center (PBRC) which found that,

“CLA prevents the deposition of plaque and lipids in arteries, a key factor in the development and progression of heart disease. CLA may also help prevent heart disease by acting as an antioxidant and by lowering blood pressure.”

Your Adipose Spare Tire

You could be struggling with accumulated fat around your mid-section which is called adipose tissue, the more dangerous form of lipid mass. Excess adipose tissue has been linked to inflammation, compromising hormone function, cardiovascular disease and high cholesterol.

In lab studies, CLA has shown to assist in the process of fat burning. Animals fed the supplement began to show an increase of energy due to increased fat metabolism. This resulted in decreased fat levels which Livestrong reports PBRC had also discovered that,

“The benefits of CLA for fat-loss are thus twofold, both assisting in the metabolism of stored body fat for fuel and preventing the metabolism from slowing down while on a diet.”

Get Some Joint Relief

At any given moment, there is often inflammation going on somewhere in your body. You may not even feel it but the times that you do it can really make you cringe, particularly in your joints.

CLA may be a good adjunct to other anti-inflammatories such as the polyphenols turmeric, tart cherry juice and bromelain. Natural News reports on the significance of this underrated fat compound,

“One of the powerful attributes of CLA is its ability to suppress inflammatory prostaglandins such as PGE2. Blocking this substance reduces inflammation in the joints, muscles, bones, organs and brain. This allows for stronger and healthier brain and body. Chicks and rats fed CLA rich butterfat had significantly greater bone growth than animals fed other fats.”

Cancer Fighter

You have to prevent cancer on all fronts and in addition to eating low on the food chain, following a solid exercise routine and sleeping 7-8 hours, CLA supplementation has shown some promise.

BioMed Central posts a study published in Nutrition & Metabolism (9/09) reporting that,

“CLA inhibits cancer by blocking the growth and metastatic spread of tumors. CLA is fast acting, and begins to inhibit both malignant and benign tumors almost immediately”

It is believed that CLA’s ability to prevent cancer cell growth is twofold. First, it affects prostaglandins, essential cellular function regulators and second, it increases the body’s ability to absorb vitamins that would otherwise store in fat such as Vitamin D and A.

According to Cornell University and the National Academy of Sciences,

“…CLA is the only fatty acid shown unequivocally to inhibit carcinogenesis in experimental animals.”

A Few More…

Nutrition & Metabolism also cites a list of some specific benefits of CLA which include:

  • Reduce weight gain induced by psychotropic medication
  • Affect lipid and carbohydrate metabolism and reduced body weight
  • Reduce colorectal carcinoma
  • Enhanced immunological function
  • Enhanced C-reactive protein
  • Suppresses rheumatoid arthritis
  • Protective effect on the risk of metastasis in breast cancer
  • Positive impact on cardioprotective effect

Where to Find CLA

CLA is abundant in grass fed meats and poultry, dairy, eggs, butter, safflower oil and mushrooms. It can also be taken in capsule form one to three times per day.

These 12 benefits of conjugated linoleic acid brings to the table yet another natural remedy waiting in the wings. Add some of these foods to your diet or talk to your physician or naturopathic doctor for proper dosage and protocol of supplementation.