Conjugated linoleic acid is an integral term for the mixture of positional and geometrical isomers of the octadecadienoic acids, whose two double-bonds are separated with one single-bond. The most common isomers are cis-9, trans-11, and trans-10, cis-12. Conjugated linoleic acid is present in the food namely in the red meat and dairy products which the contemporary dietary recommendations tend to limit. Those limitations should be compensated with dietary supplements. Much attention has focused on the therapeutic potential of conjugated linoleic acid. Initial animal studies associated conjugated linoleic acid with beneficial health properties, such as reducing the risk of cancer, diabetes, atherosclerosis, inflammation and obesity. More recent human conjugated linoleic acid supplementation studies have often shown conflicting and less convincing health benefits. The marked variation between studies may reflect the isomer-specific effect of the individual conjugated linoleic acid isomers, which can often have opposing effects. Detrimental effects have been observed in some studies, in particular after supplementation with the trans-10,cis-12 conjugated linoleic acid isomer. Diet composition may modulate CLA effects on body fat accumulation. As far as human studies are concerned, a specific dietary pattern has not been established. As a result differences among studies and also among subjects in the same study are likely. In rodents, the effects of CLA vary with genotype, suggesting that genetic predisposition to fat accumulation can play an important role in the effectiveness of CLA. Human volunteers with different body mass index have participated in the published studies and even in the same experiment. So, differences in lipid metabolism among subjects could help to explain the discrepancies observed in the literature. Age and maturity may also be crucial. (PMID: 17053429, 17217167, 17554969, 16477173) [HMDB]

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