Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is a group of eight fatty acid isomers that naturally occur in low levels in some dairy and meat products. While CLA is widely used as a weight loss product, recent research into the compound has found that CLA has other potential benefits including supporting bone health and stabilizing glucose levels in diabetics.
A new study has found that CLA (FATSOL-C™), may protect against muscle loss in the elderly. According to the researchers, "Age-related loss of muscle mass has far reaching consequences for the elderly, including impaired physical function, increased risk of falls, fractures, dependency, and death."
CLA exists in the form of 28 different isomers, two of which, "trans-10 cis-12" and "cis-9 trans-11" seem to be the most important to both weight loss and muscle retention. FATSOL-C ‘s CLA contains both isomers, whereas other brands contain only the "trans-10 cis-12".
In the study, the researchers compared the effects of corn oil (the control) to each of the two isomers separately and together (CLA-mix) on elderly mice. After six months of continuous daily supplementation, the researchers found that the "trans-10 cis-12" and CLA-mix showed "significantly higher muscle mass, as compared to corn oil and 'cis-9 trans-11 CLA' groups." Both the "trans-10 cis-12" and CLA-mix groups also showed increased cellular energy production, and higher levels of the antioxidant enzymes catalase and glutathione peroxidase in the muscles than the other two groups. Oxidative stress as measured by serum malondialdehyde and inflammation were significantly less in all CLA isomer groups.
The researchers note that the presence of both molecules is important because "the 'trans-10 cis-12' CLA isomer is the active component of the CLA-mix that exerts an anti-[muscle loss] effect seen in this study. However,the 'trans-10 cis-12' CLA isomer alone is known to have some adverse effects, such as, fatty liver formation, insulin resistance, etc., which can be corrected by combining with the 'cis-9 trans-11' CLA isomer, which is known to improve insulin sensitivity as well as fatty liver formation." The researchers continued "the CLA-mix also showed an equal efficacy as 'trans-10 cis-12' CLA isomer alone, therefore, the CLA-mix could be an ideal dietary supplement to protect/delay age-associated skeletal muscle loss."
This is not the first study to find that CLA may improve muscle mass. Numerous previous studies have found that CLA can help improve muscles tone while aiding weight loss in dieters. FATSOL-C is made from safflower oil.
1. Rahman, M., G. V. Halade, et al. (2009). "Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) prevents age-associated skeletal muscle loss." Biochem Biophys Res Commun 383(4): 513-8.