It is no secret that essential fatty acids are beneficial to your health. However, another type of essential fatty acid, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), possesses many benefits for your immune system and overall health. Take a look at some of the potential applications of CLA and how it is used to help prevent premature deterioration of bone tissue and boost immune health. The more studies they do on CLA benefits, the more they are finding usefulness in high-quality supplementation.
CLA is an essential fatty acid and is commonly found in dairy products and beef, explains WebMD. Furthermore, CLA may be employed for a variety of health applications, such as the treatment and prevention of cancer, atherosclerosis, obesity, weight loss, and reducing food allergy reactions.
Average citizens and healthcare professionals have thought CLA holds many possibilities for the immune system for years. However, in 2005, researchers began to unlock whether this urban myth had any truth in the publication, Effect of CLA Supplementation on Immune Function and Young Healthy Volunteers. Researchers identified an increase in immunoglobulin levels when participants were given a daily CLA supplement. Specifically, IgA and IgM, two classes of immunoglobulins, increased, and levels of inflammatory chemicals, otherwise known as cytokines, appeared to decrease. Additionally, CLA appeared to reduce hypersensitive reactions to potential antigens, which holds applications for food allergy treatment.
Throughout life, bone density is constantly changing due to two types of cells: osteoclasts and osteoblasts. Osteoclast are responsible for breaking down existing bone tissue, which allows osteoblasts to form new, stronger bone matter. However, the action of osteoblasts tends to decrease as the body ages. Concurrently, the action of osteoclasts continues throughout life. As a result, the average bone density of an individual decreases. In the publication, Conjugated Linoleic Acid CLA Prevents Age-Associated Skeletal Muscle Loss, researchers identified how CLA may help to prevent the premature death of osteoblasts. In this study, the activity of osteoblasts and antioxidant enzymes increased, which helped reduce oxidative stress to the osteoblasts. As a result, osteoblasts were able to continue producing bone matter, and the osteoclast action did not result in porous bone matter.
Yet, another study, CLA Maintains Higher Bone Density During Aging by Modulating Osteoclastogenesis and Bone Marrow Adiposity, found CLA inhibits the formation of osteoclasts in the first place. A specific component of CLA, the t10c12-CLA isomer, is the driving force behind its benefits. When this isomer is present in the body, it helps to prevent the premature stimulation of the formation of osteoclasts, i.e. the body does not create new osteoclasts in excess. Additionally, the presence of this CLA isomer was able to help reduce adipose tissue in muscles, which allows for a greater flow of nutrients to the bones. Essentially, CLA reduces the breakdown of bone tissue and improves the nutrient availability to bones.
CLA benefits have shown many interesting and exciting possibilities for fighting premature aging and deterioration of bone density while increasing the immune system response. Both of these factors are key aspects of maintaining health throughout life. Understanding how conjugated linoleic acid affects the immune system and skeletal system is critical to avoiding the most negative effects of aging—poor bone density and poor immune system quality.