New research from Scandinavian Clinical Research in Norway shows that conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) can help reduce body fat in humans. The research, published in The Journal of International Medical Research (JIMR) is the fifth peer-reviewed article addressing CLA's body fat reduction properties to be published over the last 18 months.
"Body fat, measured using near infrared light, was significantly reduced in the group taking CLA during the study," said Dr Ola Gudmundsen, CEO of Scandinavian Clinical Research and a co-author of the study.
"This study shows those participants who ingested 1.8 grams of CLA per day experienced body fat reduction versus the placebo group. These results confirm a trend seen in several recent CLA studies and suggest the need for the continued study of CLA and its impact on humans."
The CLA used in the Scandinavian study was Tonalin, manufactured by the US company Natural.
Conjugated linoleic acid is the common name of a group of fatty acids found in dairy products and meat, but changes to livestock development methods mean that there is now very little natural CLA in human diets.
But this could be about to change as a result of the growing body of evidence supporting the apparent metabolic and chemoprotective properties of CLA in animals and, to a lesser extent, in humans.
CLA has been found to reduce body fat content, improve serum lipid profiles, decrease aortic lipid deposition and enhance glucose metabolism.
Gudmundsen stressed that while the observations recorded in the Scandinavian Clinical Research report were in accordance with other recent CLA study results, the effect obtained in the Norwegian study is much more pronounced than that previously reported.
The study focused on 20 volunteers aged 18 to 30 years, recruited from a physical fitness centre where they participated in regular physical training consisting of 90 minutes of strenuous exercise, three times a week. Volunteers were directed not to change their diet or lifestyle during the study.
Earlier research by the University of Wisconsin (published by the American Chemical Society, August 20, 2000) concluded that subjects who stopped dieting and exercising regained less fat and retained more muscle mass when taking CLA versus those who had not, while research published in The Journal of Nutrition (Volume 130, 12, 2000) found that without change in exercise or eating habits, an average reduction of six pounds of body fat occurred in subjects taking CLA.
A study which appeared last year in The International Journal of Obesity (Volume 25, Issue 8, August 2001) showed that male subjects classified as abdominally obese lost an average of one inch from their waistlines in a four-week period when using CLA. Another study from 2001, published in the August edition of Lipids, found that of 53 patients those taking CLA over the course of a 14-week trial experienced body fat reductions of 3.8%.
Additional human studies on the body fat reduction aspects of CLA are underway and anticipated in the next year.