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The Bauman Research Group

Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) Studies

This web site is maintained by Dr. Dale E. Bauman and his research group with the goal of providing a general overview on conjugated linoleic acids including information on their chemical structure and biological activities. Also provided on this site is some of the CLA research from our group.

What is CLA?

Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is an 18-carbon fatty acid with two double bonds located on adjacent carbons. The term CLA is often used in a way that implies it is a single compound. However, many CLA isomers exist and the biological properties can differ among CLA isomers. The isomers of CLA are distinguished by differences in the position and the orientation (cis or trans) of the double bonds along the fatty acid chain. The following links provide more information about rumen lipid metabolism as well as the chemical characteristics used to describe dietary fatty acids and the various CLA isomers.

Why the Interest in CLA?

The main source of CLA in human diets is food products derived from ruminants including meat and dairy products. While some CLA isomers have been associated with beneficial health affects, not all CLA isomers have been investigated, and differences in biological effects exist among those isomers that have been examined. Research with mixtures of CLA isomers have demonstrated an impressive range of beneficial health effects in biomedical studies with animal models. Some beneficial effects of CLA include:

  • Anti-carcinogenic
  • Anti-obesity and altered nutrient partitioning
  • Anti-atherogenic and reduces cholesterol
  • Enhance the immune system
  • Enhance bone mineralization

The majority of research to date has focused on the biological effects of the cis-9, trans-11 and trans-10, cis-12 CLA isomers.