Conjugated fatty acids derived from linoleic acid – conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) – have been studied as part of the fight against obesity. A particular form of CLA prevents the build up of triglycerides in adipocyte cultures.
Although CLA does not reduce the human body weight it does help increase the lean muscle mass at the expense of fat (adipose tissue). CLA also has a positive effect on the body composition of dogs that may be over fed.
CLA’s anti-adipogenic action is said to be due to an effect of the regulation of glucose and fatty acid metabolism in the adipose tissue cells. The various CLA forms have been widely studied due to their potential beneficial properties on cancer, atherosclerosis, immune function and diabetes.
CLA is found in ingredients from animal sources, particularly diary products, meats and fats. They are synthesised by specific micro-organisms in the rumen of cattle. In dogs on the other hand, CLA production by intestinal bacteria is very low. Synthetic forms of CLA are thus added to food.