CLA and Body Composition

Changes in Body Composition with Conjugated Linoleic Acid

James P. DeLany, PhD, and David B. West, PhD

Pennington Biomedical Research Center, 6400 Perkins Road, Baton Rouge, Louisiana E-mail:

Conjugated linoleic acid has been shown to reduce body fat accumulation in several animal models. We have conducted several studies in AKR/J mice showing that CLA reduces body fat accumulation whether animals are fed a high-fat or low-fat diet, with no effect on food intake. One mechanism by which CLA reduces body fat is by increased energy expenditure, which is observed within one week of CLA feeding and is sustained for at least six weeks. The increased energy expenditure is sufficient to account for the decreased fat accumulation. Increased uncoupling protein gene expression does not appear to be involved in the increased energy expenditure. We have observed increased fat oxidation but no decrease in de novo fat biosynthesis with CLA feeding. We have also observed increased liver weights and plasma insulin levels with higher doses of CLA. In all of the studies we have conducted to date we have used a CLA preparation that contains several isomers, primarily c9,t11 and t10,c12. It was assumed that the active form was c9,t11, as CLA was identified as an anticarcinogenic compound from cooked beef, of which the c9,t11 form accounts for 60% to 80% of the CLA. Most of the studies conducted so far must be repeated using the purified isomers in order to determine which isomers are responsible for each of the identified actions of CLA.

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