CLA comprises a group of unsaturated FA isomers with a variety of biological effects in experimental animals. CLA reduces body fat accumulation in animal models and has been suggested to have significant effects on lipid and glucose metabolism, e.g., antidiabetic effects in obese Zucker rats. It has been proposed that the trans10-cis12 isomer is the active isomer associated with the antiobesity and insulin-sensitizing properties of CLA. The metabolic effects in humans in general, and isomer-specific effects specifically, are not well characterized. In a series of controlled studies in humans, we investigated the effects of CLA (given as the commercially available mixture of isomers and as the purified trans10-cis12 CLA isomer) on anthropometry, lipid and glucose metabolism, and markers of lipid peroxidation. Preliminary results indicate that CLA may slightly decrease body fat in humans also, particularly abdominal fat, but there is no effect on body weight or body mass index. There is no simultaneous improvement in lipid or glucose metabolism. Rather, the trans10-cis12 CLA isomer unexpectedly caused significant impairment of the peripheral insulin sensitivity as well as of blood glucose and serum lipid levels. In addition, CLA markedly elevated lipid peroxidation. Thus, the metabolic effects of CLA in human seem complex; further studies, especially of isomer-specific effects and for longer time periods, are warranted.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
body mass index
sagittal abdominal diameter
Kepler, C.R., Hirons, K.P., McNeill, J.J., and Tove, S.B. (1966) Intermediates and Products of the Biohydrogenation of Linoleic Acid by Butyrivibrio fibrisolvens, J. Biol. Chem. 245, 3612–3620.
Chin, S.F., Storkson, J.M., Ha, Y.L., and Pariza, M.W. (1992) Dietary Sources of Conjugated Dienoic Isomers of Linoleic Acid, a Newly Recognized Class of Anticarcinogens, J. Food Comp. Anal. 5, 185–197.
Briton, M., Fong, C., Wickens, D., and Yudkin, J. (1992) Diet as a Source of Phospholipid Esterified 9,11-Octadecadienoic Acid in Humans Clin. Sci. 83, 97–101.
Jiang, J., Wolk, A., and Vessby, B. (1999) Relation Between the Intake of Milk Fat and the Occurrence of Conjugated Linoleic Acid in Human Adipose Tissue, Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 70, 21–27.
Park, Y., Albright, K.J., Liu, W., Storkson, J.M., Cook, M.E., and Pariza, M.W. (1997) Effect of Conjugated Linoleic Acid on Body Composition in Mice, Lipids 32, 853–858.
Dugan, M.E.R., Aalhus, J.L., Schaefer, A.L., and Kramer, J.K.G. (1997) The Effects of Conjugated Linoleic Acid on Fat to Lean Repartitioning and Feed Conversion in Pigs, Can. J. Anim. Sci. 77, 723–725.
West, D.B., Delany, J.P., Camet, P.M., Blohm, F., Truett, A.A., and Scimeca, J. (1998) Effects of Conjugated Linoleic Acid on Body Fat and Energy Metabolism in the Mouse, Am. J. Physiol. 275, R667-R672.
Ostrowska, E., Muralitharan, M., Cross, R.F., Bauman, D.E., and Dunshea, F.R. (1999) Dietary Conjugated Linoleic Acid Increases Lean Tissue and Decreases Fat Deposition in Growing Pigs, J. Nutr. 129, 2037–2042.
Houseknecht, K.L., Van den Heuvel, J.P., Moya-Camarena, S.Y., Portocarrero, C.P., Peck, L.W., Nickel, K.P., and Belury, M. (1998) Dietary Conjugated Linoleic Acid Normalizes Impaired Glucose Tolerance in the Zucker Diabetic Fatty fa/fa Rat, Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 244, 678–682.
Gavino, V.C., Gavino, G., Leblanc, M.J., and Tuchweber, B. (2000) An Isomeric Mixture of Conjugated Linoleic Acid but Not Pure cis-9, trans-11-Octadecadienoic Acid Affects Body Weight Gain and Plasma Lipids in Hamsters, J. Nutr. 130, 27–29.
Alberti, G., Zimmet, P., and Consultation, W. (1998) Definition, Diagnosis and Classification of Diabetes Mellitus and Its Complications. Part 1: Diagnosis and Classification of Diabetes Mellitus, Provisional Report of a WHO Consultation, Diabetic Med. 15, 539–553.
Björntorp, P. (1993) Visceral Obesity: A Civilization Syndrome, Obes. Res. 1, 206–222.
Kvist, H., Chowdhury, B., Grangård, U., Tylén, U., and Sjöström, L. (1988) Total and Visceral Adipose-Tissue Volumes Derived from Measurements with Computed Tomography in Adult Men and Women: Predictive Equations, Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 48, 1351–1361.
Pouliot, M.C., Després, J.P., Lemieux, S., Moorjani, S., Bouchard, C., Tremblay, A., and Lupien, P.J. (1994) Waist Circumference and Sagittal Diameter: Best Simple Anthropometric Indexes of Abdominal Visceral Adipose Tissue Accumulation and Related Metabolic Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Men and Women, Am. J. Cardiol. 73, 460–468.
Öhrvall, M., Berglund, L., and Vessby, B. (2000) Sagittal Abdominal Diameter Compared with Other Anthropometric Measurements in Relation to Cardiovascular Risk, Int. J. Obes. Relat. Metab. Disord. 24, 497–501.
Risérus, U., Berglund, L., and Vessby, B. (2001) Abdominal Sagittal Diameter Is Strongly Related to Insulin Resistance in Men with the Metabolic Syndrome, Diabetologia 44 (Suppl. 1), A205 (Abstr.).
Smedman, A., Gustafsson, I.-B., Berglund, L., and Vessby, B. (1999) Pentadecanoic Acid (15∶0) in Serum as a Marker for Intake of Milk Fat. The Relationships Between Intake of Milk Fat and Metabolic Risk Factors, Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 69, 22–29.
Atkinson, R.L. (1999) Conjugated Linoleic Acid for Altering Body Composition and Treating Obesity, in Advances in Conjugated Linoleic Acid Research, Volume 1 (Yurawecz, M.P., Mossoba, M.M., Kramer, J.K.G.., Pariza, M.W., and Nelson, G.J., eds.) pp. 348–353, AOCS Press, Champaign.
Blankson, H., Stakkestad, J.A., Fagertun, H., Thom, E., Wadstein, J., and Gudmundsen, O. (2000) Conjugated Linoleic Acid Reduces Body Fat Mass in Overweight and Obese Humans, J. Nutr. 130, 2943–2948.
Zambell, K.L., Keim, N.L., Van Loan, M.D., Gale, B., Benito, P., Kelley, D.S., and Nelson, G.J. (2000) Conjugated Linoleic Acid Supplementation in Humans: Effects on Body Composition and Energy Expenditure, Lipids 35, 777–782.
Mougios, V., Matsakas, A., Petridou, A., Ring, S., Sagredos, A., Melissopoulou, A., Tsigilis, N., and Nikolaidis, M. (2001) Effect of Supplementation with Conjugated Linoleic Acid on Human Serum Lipids and Body Fat, J. Nutr. Biochem. 12, 585–594.
Smedman, A., and Vessby, B. (2001) Conjugated Linoleic Acid Decreases Body Fat in Healthy Humans, Lipids 36, 773–781.
Forslund, A.H., Johansson, A.G., Sjodin, A., Bryding, G., Ljunghall, S., and Hambraeus, L. (1996) Evaluation of Modified Multicompartment Models to Calculate Body Composition in Healthy Males, Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 63, 856–862.
Risérus, U., Berglund, L., and Vessby, B. (2001) Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) Reduced Abdominal Adipose Tissue in Obese Middle-Aged Men with Signs of the Metabolic Syndrome: A Randomized Controlled Trial, Int. J. Obes. 25, 1129–1135.
Risérus, U., Arner, P., Brismar, K., and Vessby, B. (2002) Treatment with Dietary trans 10-cis12 Conjugated Linoleic Acid Causes Isomer-Specific Insulin Resistance in Obese Men with the Metabolic Syndrome, Diabetes Care 25, 1516–1521.
Medina, E.M., Horn, W.F., Keim, N.L., Havel, P.J., Benito, P., Kelley, D.S., Nelson, G.J., and Erickson, K.L. (2000) Conjugated Linoleic Acid Supplementation in Humans: Effects on Circulating Leptin Concentrations and Appetite, Lipids 35, 783–788.
Schonberg, S., and Krokan, H.E. (1995) The Inhibitory Effect of Conjugated Dienoic Derivatives (CLA) of Linoleic Acid on the Growth of Human Tumor Cell Lines Is in Part Due to Increased Lipid Peroxidation, Anticancer Res. 15, 1241–1246.
O’Shea, M., Stanton, C., and Devery, R. (1999) Antioxidant Enzyme Defence Responses of Human MCF-7 and SW 470 Cancer Cells to Conjugated Linoleic Acid, Anticancer Res. 19, 1953–1959.
Basu, S., Smedman, A., and Vessby, B. (2000) Conjugated Linoleic Acid Induces Lipid Peroxidation in Humans, FEBS Lett. 468, 33–36.
Basu, S., Risérus, U., Turpeinen, A., and Vessby, B. (2000) Conjugated Linoleic Acid Induces Lipid Peroxidation in Men with Abdominal Obesity, Clin. Sci. 99, 511–516.
Basu, S. (1998) Radioimmunoassay of 8-Iso-prostaglandin F2α: An Index for Oxidative Injury via Free Radical Catalysed Lipid Peroxidation, Prostaglandins Leukot. Essent. Fatty Acids 58, 319–325.
Basu, S. (1998) Radioimmunoassay of 15-Keto-dihydro-prostaglandin F2α: An Index for Inflammation via Cyclooxygenase Catalysed Lipid Peroxidation, Prostaglandins Leukot. Essent. Fatty Acids 58, 347–352.
Halliwell, B. (2000) Lipid Peroxidation, Antioxidants and Cardiovascular Disease: How Should We Move Forward? Cardiovasc. Res. 47, 410–418.
Yudkin, J.S., Stehouwer, C.D., Emeis, J.J., and Coppack, S.W. (1999) C-Reactive Protein in Healthy Subjects: Associations with Obesity, Insulin Resistance, and Endothelial Dysfunction: A Potential Role for Cytokines Originating from Adipose Tissue? Arterioscler. Thromb. Vasc. Biol. 19, 972–978.
Carantoni, M., Abbasi, F., and Warmerdam, F., (1998) Relationship Between Insulin Resistance and Partially Oxidized LDL in Healthy, Nondiabetic Volunteers, Arterioscler. Thromb. Vasc. Biol. 18, 762–767.
Park, Y., Storkson, J.M., Albright, K.J., Liu, W., and Pariza, M.W. (1999) Evidence That the trans 10,cis12 Isomer of Conjugated Linoleic Acid Induces Body Weight Changes in Mice, Lipids 34, 234–241.
Arner, P. (1995) Differences in Lipolysis Between Human Subcutaneous and Omental Adipose Tissues, Ann. Med. 27, 435–438.
Ryder, J.W., Portocarrero, C.P., Song, X.M., Cui, L., Yu, M., Combatsiaris, T., Galuska, D., Bauman, D.E., Barbano, D.M., Charon, M.J., Zierath, J.R., and Houseknecht, K.L. (2001) Isomer-Specific Antidiabetic Properties of Conjugated Linoleic Acid. Improved Glucose Tolerance, Skeletal Muscle Insulin Action and UCP-2 Gene Expression, Diabetes 50, 1149–1157.
Tsuboyama-Kasaoka, N., Takahashi, M., Tanemura, K., Kim, H.J., Tange, T., Okuyama, H., Kasai, M., Ikemoto, S., and Ezaki, O. (2000) Conjugated Linoleic Acid Supplementation Reduces Adipose Tissue by Apoptosis and Develops Lipodystrophy in Mice, Diabetes 49, 1534–1542.
Delany, J.P., Blohm, F., Truett, A.A., Scimeca, J.A., and West, D.B. (1999) Conjugated Linoleic Acid Rapidly Reduces Body Fat Content in Mice Without Affecting Energy Intake, Am. J. Physiol. 276, R1172-R1179.
Bonadonna, R.C., Groop, L., Kraemer, N., Ferranini, E., Del Prato, S., and DeFronzo, R.A. (1990) Obesity and Insulin Resistance in Humans: A Dose-Response Study, Metabolism 39, 452–459.
About this article
Cite this article
Risérus, U., Smedman, A., Basu, S. et al. CLA and body weight regulation in humans. Lipids 38, 133–137 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11745-003-1043-7
- Linoleic Acid
- Conjugate Linoleic Acid
- Conjugate Linoleic Acid Isomer
- Conjugate Linoleic Acid Supplementation
- Dietary Conjugate Linoleic Acid