, Volume 46, Issue 2, pp 105-119
Date: 15 Dec 2010

The Health Promoting Properties of the Conjugated Isomers of α-Linolenic Acid

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Abstract

The bioactive properties of the conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) isomers have long been recognised and are the subject of a number of excellent reviews. However, despite this prominence the CLA isomers are not the only group of naturally occurring dietary conjugated fatty acids which have shown potent bioactivity. In a large number of in vitro and in vivo studies, conjugated α-linolenic acid (CLNA) isomers have displayed potent anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, anti-obese and anti-carcinogenic activity, along with the ability to improve biomarkers of cardio-vascular health. CLNA isomers are naturally present in high concentrations in a large variety of seed oils but can also be produced in vitro by strains of lactobacilli and bifidobactena through the activity of the enzyme linoleic acid isomerase on α-linolenic acid. In this review, we will address the possible therapeutic roles that CLNA may play in a number of conditions afflicting Western society and the mechanisms through which this activity is mediated.