~ 030108 Animal Study Suggests CLA May Help Prevent Childhood Obesity

An animal study conducted at North Carolina State University, and published in the Journal of Nutrition (2008 138: 449-454) examined the effect of Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) on the regulation of body composition and lipid metabolism in neonatal pigs that were fed either low-fat or high-fat milk formulas. Weight gain during infancy has been linked to excessive weight later in life; childhood obesity is an increasing problem that may predispose children to adult obesity. Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) supplementation in adults has been shown to reduce fat gain, improving lean to fat body mass ratio.

A total of 24 piglets were divided into four groups and fed low-fat (3%) or high-fat (25%) diets with or without 1% CLA. Piglets were fed the formulas for 17 days. While Piglet body weight gains did not differ between groups, pigs fed the low-fat diets consumed larger quantities of formula. Piglets fed the high-fat formula gained 50% more body fat during the feeding period than low-fat fed piglets. CLA reduced body fat gain regardless of the dietary fat content of the formula. Liver and muscle metabolic indicators were evaluated. Researchers stated that study results indicated an inhibition of fatty acid uptake and synthesis by adipose tissue, rather than increased fatty acid oxidation in liver or muscle, were involved in the reduction of body fat gain by CLA. CLA supplementation is potentially beneficial in the prevention of Childhood obesity.

Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) is a mixture of isomers of linoleic acid found in beef, milk products and certain other foods. It was identified in 1987 and has now become a dietary supplement supporting important cellular functions. CLA intake is often deficient in our “fat-phobic” society, due to an up to 80% reduction in the average CLA intake over the past 20 years. CLA dietary supplements are usually derived from vegetable sources such as safflower or sunflower seed oils.

CLA is involved in the body’s regulation of fat accumulation and retention. CLA supplementation has been shown, in animal and human studies, to reduce appetite, promote fat burning and increase lean muscle mass. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin stated that CLA reduces appetite by enabling the body to extract more energy from less food. Results of a recent study indicate that CLA may help maintain weight loss after dieting.

CLA also demonstrates notable anti-inflammatory activity. A recently published animal study, found that CLA exerted anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects in a rheumatoid arthritis-like condition. Animal studies also indicate that CLA may be helpful in mitigating stress-induced immune system suppression. CLA has been found to have potent antioxidant properties, capable of helping in the prevention of breast and other cancers as well as in the reduction of arterial plaque and heart disease. Recent research at Purdue University indicates that CLA aids in normalizing impaired glucose tolerance and may be helpful in the prevention of adult onset diabetes.

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