What is conjugated linoleic acid? Is it safe? Does it have any side effects? This article answers these questions in brief.
Conjugated linoleic acid is a nutritional supplement often used by body builders to promote muscle growth. Chemically, it is an isomer of an essential, unsaturated, and omega 6 fatty acid, known as linoleic acid. A slight rearrangement of the molecular structure of linoleic acid alters its chemical functions and results in cojugated linoleic acid (CLA). Unlike linoleic acid, which is found in various vegetable oils, CLA is primarily found in meat and dairy products.
Conjugated linoleic acid is claimed to be beneficial for us in several ways. Studies show that this supplement can hinder the growth of cancerous tumors in the skin, mammary, and colon tissues. It does this by regulating the gene responsible for tumor suppression. This health supplement is also known to help people reduce body fat. It is believed that low levels or lack of this acid signals the body to preserve fats.
The presence of right amounts of CLA in the body, avoids storage of excess fats and thus helps in its reduction. Although this supplement can reduce body fat, it does not have much effect on the overall body weight. Moreover, recent studies have shown that this may have certain adverse reactions on the body.
There are several side effects associated with conjugated linoleic acid. However, small doses that come from the everyday foods do not have any adverse effect on the body. In fact, it is necessary for the growth and promotion of body muscles. However, large quantities of CLA consumption can lead to serious health concerns. Following are some of the common side effects of CLA.
- Upset stomach
- Unexplained rash
- Difficulty in swallowing
These were some of the common negative effects. However, these problems are temporary and fade away with time. But they can also have serious health consequences.
Conjugated linoleic acid is known to reduce the levels of HDL cholesterol, which is beneficial for the body and commonly referred to as ‘good’ cholesterol. Good cholesterol is necessary for keeping the LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol in control. Some forms of CLAs make the body resistant to insulin. This insulin resistance can raise the level of blood sugar, causing hyperglycemia. It is also known to increase the level of the inflammatory protein, called C-reactive protein, which can cause several health problems.
Now, that you are aware of the various adverse effects, caused by excess amount of CLA in the body, limit the consumption of its supplements, to avoid the serious medical complications.