CLA shows adverse effects on Type 2 Diabetes Markers.





Related Monographs

Consumer Data: Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2
Professional Data: Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2


Bearing a close chemical resemblance to linoleic acid, research indicates that conjugated linoleic acid may also offer a number of health benefits. These include possible enhancement of immunity, as well as potential protection from cancer and heart disease. CLA may also stimulate growth of muscle tissue while promoting fat loss.

Small amounts of CLA occur in most kinds of meat while slightly larger concentrations occur in dairy products. These days, foods that formerly contained substantial amounts of CLA do not contain enough of the nutrient to make them acceptable sources. Since the 1960s, the CLA content of meat and dairy products has declined dramatically. Ruminants (beef, lamb and veal) used to contain substantial amounts of CLA in their muscle tissue, but switching these animals from pasture land (grass diets) to feedlots where they are primarily fed grain has resulted in approximately a 75% decline in these animals. It has been speculated that the dramatic decline in available CLA in American diets may be linked to increased rates of cancer, heart disease, and obesity.

A recent study acknowledged that animal studies have shown potential for CLA in insulin sensitivity and lipid metabolism. These are key risk factors for cardiovascular disease associated with type 2 diabetes. This small study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, recruited 32 diabetic participants. For 8 weeks, these individuals received 3 grams of CLA or placebo. Researchers measured markers of glucose and insulin metabolism, cardiovascular disease and lipid metabolism. The results found that CLA greatly increased fasting glucose levels and reduced insulin sensitivity. However, HDL (the “good” cholesterol) levels increased by an average of 8% after supplementation. No effects were seen on the inflammatory markers of cardiovascular disease. The authors concluded that, “CLA supplementation had an adverse effect on insulin and glucose metabolism. Whereas CLA had positive effects on HDL metabolism and fibrinogen, a therapeutic nutrient should not be associated with potentially adverse effects on other clinical markers of type 2 diabetes.”1


1. Moloney F, et al. Conjugated linoleic acid supplementation, insulin sensitivity, and lipoprotein metabolism in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. AJCN, Vol. 80, No. 4, 887-895, October 2004.