CLA cuts fat in mice, study finds

By Alex McNally

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Cla, Obesity, Nutrition

The efficacy of CLA as a weight management supplement has been
supported in a new animal study, which found CLA boosted weight

Researchers writing in the Journal of Food Science​ found that mice who were fed CLA lost weight by reducing body fat. However, they found similar weight loss was found by either taking CLA or restricting how much food was eaten. This study adds to an ever growing body of research supporting CLA a weight management tool. Indeed, it underlines the notion that CLA may help loose weight without affecting lean body mass, which could become important in the face of a growing obesity problem. According to the International Obesity Task Force (IOTF), the overall number of overweight people worldwide could top two billion, a forecast that does not take into account the lower overweight threshold set for Asians. The CLA market is expanding, according to a 2007 Frost & Sullivan report, which said the global market is forecast to reach revenues of US$109.9 million in 2013. The researchers, from the University of Massachusetts and University of Wisconsin-Madison, carried out two experiments using mice older than six months to determine the effect of supplementation on food intake, body weight and composition. The mice were randomly divided into four groups and given diets of CLA with ad libitum​ consisting of 4.5 per cent corn oil plus 0.5 per cent CLA; a control restricted diet (6.7 per cent corn oil);a CLA with a restricted diet (6.0 per cent corn oil plus 0.7 per cent CLA); control group. Diets were provided every day for the restricted groups or 3 times a week for ad libitum​ groups for four weeks. In experiment two, the treatments were control-ad libitum​, CLA-ad libitum​, and control-pair fed. The first experiment found average food consumption during the adaptation period in the CLA-restricted group was less than that of control-restricted. CLA also had an effect on body weight, but of a similar kind to the mice who were fed the restricted amount of food. They also found that: "CLA-ad libitum group had the similar protein content (or more as percent) as control-ad libitum (CLA-ad libitum group had 19.7 per cent or 7.34 g protein compared to control-ad libitum group had 17.8 per cent or 7.39 g protein). This is important since most often the loss of weight is accompanied by lean mass loss as well. On the contrary, CLA was able to maintain the lean mass, and importantly most of the weight loss by CLA treatment was the result of loss of body fat."​ In experiment two, body weight was also lost, and the CLA fed mice had "significantly less" body fat. They concluded that: "It is apparent that CLA may not reduce body fat in humans as significantly as seen in mice. However, there may be potential use of CLA under specific conditions, such as reducing body weight and/or fat mass gain following weight loss. The difference in activity between CLA's biochemical action in humans and animals, as well as any safety concerns, needs to be explored. CLA may be best used in conjunction with other dietary interventions to control obesity and related health risks." ​ However, they added further evaluation on CLA should be carried out to "address the safety issue of CLA associated with enlarged liver." The uses of CLA outside of the supplement market have also begun to be felt. In July Cognis applied for permission to use its weight management product Tonalin, which contains CLA, as a food ingredient. The group said it was the first to apply for novel food permission to use CLA in this way. Source: Journal of Food Science Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) Prevents Body Fat Accumulation and Weight Gain in an Animal Model ​doi:10.1111/j.1750-3841.2007.00477.x Authors: Y. Park, K Albright, W Liu, M Pariza.

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