Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA): A Powerful Anti-Inflammatory

Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA): A Powerful Anti-Inflammatory post image

Researchers at The Nutritional Immunology and Molecular Medicine Laboratory (NIMML)  at Virginia Tech have found that conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) a naturally occurring fatty acid found in dairy and ruminant products is actually a powerful anti-inflammatory. Additionally, they found that CLA can be administered directly by itself or indirectly through the appropriate probiotic bacteria that produce it.

CLA is a Powerful Anti-inflammatory

This offers tremendous therapeutic and prophylactic potential for suffers of any condition that involves inflammation.

The study was conducted on people with inflammatory bowel disease and researchers found that Crohn’s patients who took supplementary CLA showed noticeable improvement.

The study was in collaboration with the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepathology at University of North Carolina School of Medicine and the Wake Forest Medical Center. Dr. Kim L. Isaacs, Professor of Gastroenterology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill said,

In our recent open label study of CLA as a supplement in study subjects with mild to moderate CD (Crohn’s disease) there was a marked improvement in disease activity and quality of life in 50% of the subjects.  CLA was well tolerated by all of the study subjects. These findings are very encouraging and will need to be verified in a randomized controlled trial.

Inflammatory bowel disease includes Crohn’s, colitis and celiac disease and are serious autoimmune conditions. With inflammation in the digestive system, the risk of developing colorectal cancer increases by about one percent yearly in IBD patients.

CLA is Produced by Probiotic Bacteria

While CLA is found in dairy products and meat, you may not know that it is also produced by some of our friendly gut bacteria. In this study published in 2012, the probiotic VSL#3 was used. This probiotic product can be purchased over the counter or by prescription. It contains four strains of lactobacilli (Lactobacillus casei, L. plantarum, L. bulgaricus, and L. acidophilus), three strains of bifidobacteria (Bifidobacterium longum, B. breve, and B. infantis) as well as Streptococcus thermophilus. The dose was the equivalent of 3,600 billion bacteria for an adult human weighing 70 kg.

Mice that had been induced to have colitis (DSS colitis) were given the VSL#3 probiotic. Another group was given CLA and there was a control group. The researchers found that The VSL#3 group had significant improvement in their condition on gross inspection and through histological and other methods of evaluation.

Dietary CLA Reduces Inflammation

The researchers noted that dietary CLA reiterated the beneficial effects of VSL#3 administration in mice with DSS colitis, suggesting similarities in the mechanism of action underlying the anti-inflammatory advantages of CLA and probiotic bacteria.

A noted above, dietary CLA was used in a human study with Crohn’s patients and was found to be effective.

Where to Find Dietary CLA

Dietary CLA is most abundant in the meat of grass fed animals. It is the only good trans fat and is naturally occurring in this meat. It is also found in the milk of animals that are pasture raised. It’s findings like this that illustrate the value of raising animals as they were meant to be raised.

Numerous studies have indicated that CLA is an anti-cancer agent that fights a wide variety of tumors, including bladder, brain, skin, breast, colon and prostate. It appears that CLA blocks initiation, promotion and metastasis — three of the four stages of cancer. Additionally, CLA has been found to lower LDL levels, and prevent bone loss. CLA has also been found to attenuate allergic dermatitis in mice.

Not surprisingly, the breast milk of mothers who consume foods high in CLA, is also high in CLA, providing tremendous nutrition for the baby. CLA should be obtained through naturally produced foods, such as grassfed meat and dairy. It may also be obtained through eating grassfed butter or butter oil. Grassfed butter is especially high in CLA during the spring and fall when pasture grass is rapidly growing. This butter is also full of vitamin K2 which was first identified as Activator X by Dr. Weston Price.

There is a Need for Novel, Non-Toxic Treatment Options

When it comes to autoimmune diseases, the treatment options are limited. The first level of drugs are relatively safe, however, they do not work for everyone. Once the disease progresses, the need for stronger medications emerges and the next levels become more and more dangerous and riddled with side and long term effects.

How amazing it is to see these studies coming out that use probiotics and naturally occurring fats in traditionally raised food that actually work to reduce inflammation without ANY side effects. Probiotics are truly the new therapeutic frontier.

It is clear that nurturing your microbiome is essential for good health.

Where to buy high quality meat products that contain plenty of naturally occuring CLA

This post is shared at: Thank Your Body Thursday, Creative Juice Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday, Fresh Bites Friday, Fight Back Friday, Small Footprint Friday, Barnyard Hop, Traditional Tuesday, Hearth  & Soul Hop, Allergy Free Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, Mommy Club, Whole Foods Wednesday, Party Wave Wednesday, Seasonal Celebration

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Leave a Comment

  • jp February 21, 2013, 8:23 pm

    hello – i would just like to say that my husband finally found my cure.Ten years ago i was diagnosed with Lupus after suffering the symptoms for ten years. After many years of drugs, rashes, pain, suffering, isolation, near death and more pain. I quit all grains and sugars, inclusive of all processed food and after 20 years i am doing much better …. nothing better than living proof!

    • Jill February 21, 2013, 9:04 pm

      So happy for you!

  • Eileen February 22, 2013, 6:21 pm

    Hi Jill. My understanding is that the first line of drugs for AI conditions are steroids and methotrexate (chemotherapy immune suppressant). To my mind, those aren’t safe either. That’s why I’m so glad diet can be such a powerful intervention (thanks to JP for sharing her story). I’m intrigued by the CLA study. Another reason to love grass-fed!

    • Jill February 22, 2013, 8:14 pm

      The first line is usually a non steroidal anti-inflammatory like sulfazine. It has side effects but not as bad as steroids or chemo therapeutics.

  • Kim February 25, 2013, 4:35 pm

    I have multiple auto-immune conditions, not the least of which are Ra and Psa. I have been on unsuccessful drug therapy for years, including the biologic injections. I hate taking these drugs. It is such a catch 22! Either live in so much pain you wish you were dead, or find some relief and take terrible risks. I have found a lot of relief from taking Turmeric tablets and I do have a Jersey cow that is pastured when there is grass. I make all of our dairy products from her milk and cream. I notice within 7 days if I have not been drinking raw milk, as my pain levels increase. Great article, thanks!

  • patty February 26, 2013, 4:13 pm

    I actually emailed this group of researchers back in August, 2012 asking them if they would like to test my SCD homemade yogurt and even offerning to make them varying batches (conventional, organic, grassfed, grassfed organic…). I explained what SCD homemade yogurt is all about, and surprisingly and sadly, they never replied. I should follow up!

    • Jill February 26, 2013, 4:49 pm

      That would have been AWESOME! i often wonder what the probiotic content is in homemade yogurt.

  • Alea @ Premeditated Leftovers March 5, 2013, 3:56 am

    Thanks for sharing this. I have found such relief for my autoimmune disorders through diet and natural supplements that I do not take any type of pain or anti-inflammatory meds. I have found turmeric to be really helpful at reducing inflammation. I didn’t CLA helped with inflammation, but I will definitely look into it now!

  • Soule72 November 13, 2015, 6:19 pm

    So what about all this info about dairy being inflammatory. I only buy raw grass fed milk but am concerned because inflammation in a problem for me.