CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) represents the generic name given to more than 28 isomers of linoleic acid. Below are some of the most important health benefits brought by this class of fatty acids.
Conjugated Linoleic Acid as Cancer Treatment
Studies conducted on animals revealed that Conjugated Linoleic Acid is able to decrease the dimensions of tumors by at least 50 percent. The types of cancer for which CLA has such an effect include:
- Breast cancer
- Colorectal cancer
- Lung cancer
- Skin cancer
- Stomach cancer
The American Institute for Cancer Research performed several studies that revealed that CLA can slow down the development of cancer cells. Keep in mind, though, that the majority of tests have been performed on animals, so the efficiency of these fatty acids may differ slightly in humans.
Burning Fat with Conjugated Linoleic Acid
As shown by Swedish studies conducted at the Uppsala University and made public in 2001, Conjugated Linoleic Acid is very effective as a fat burner. When used for this goal, CLA seems to be particularly good for reducing the fat deposits located in the abdominal area of overweight men.
At the same time, the lean muscle mass increases, but considering that muscle has a greater density than fat, you can safely gain muscle mass while looking better. This fact is sustained by studies conducted in The Netherlands in July 2003.
Conjugated Linoleic Acid and Heart Coronary Problems
CLA has been discovered to lower cholesterol levels, decrease high blood pressure and prevent cardiovascular diseases. All these facts contribute to the overall health of your heart. With less cholesterol, there is less plaque formed on the walls of the arteries, so the risk of stroke is smaller and the blood can flow properly.
CLA as a Bone Booster
Postmenopausal women who consume dietary Conjugated Linoleic Acid in high amounts have a greater bone mineral density, particularly in the following areas:
- Lumbar spine
The bone health improves throughout the entire body, but in the areas mentioned above the effect is more noticeable. This conclusion has been drawn by researchers from the University of Connecticut.
Improving Breast Milk by Consuming Conjugated Linoleic Acid
CLA has also been shown to improve the quality of breast milk. More precisely, it elevates the amount of possibly healthful fatty acids found in breast milk. Researchers from the University of New Hampshire, led by Athena A. Moutsioulis, showed that the CLA levels increase by 46 percent in breast-feeding mothers who consumed cookies enriched with these fatty acids.
Sources of Conjugated Linoleic Acid
Conjugated Linoleic Acid is mainly found in the meat of ruminants, but also in the dairy products that come from these animals. As a consequence, a diet rich in foods derived from the following animals will provide the necessary amount of Conjugated Linoleic Acid:
- Water buffalo
In case the products from these animals are not available, or simply not effective enough, you can rely on Conjugated Linoleic Acid supplements, even though these are known not to be as effective as natural food products. Since the safety and toxicity levels of Conjugated Linoleic Acid are not yet known, as neither are the possible adverse reactions, it is recommended to use natural sources instead of supplements. On the other hand, supplements are recommended if you do not want to increase the amount of meat and dairy products in your diet.