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CLA’s potential heart benefits linked to protein regulation

By Stephen DANIELLS , 18-Jun-2012
Last updated the 18-Jun-2012 at 19:23 GMT

CLA’s potential heart benefits linked to protein regulation

The potential heart health benefits of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) may be linked to its ability to alter protein expression in platelets, says a new study that may explain some of the anti-atherogenic effects of the fatty acids.

Supplementation with CLA (cis-9, trans-11) resulted for three month was associated with alterations in 40 proteins in the platelets of 40 overweight but healthy people participating in a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, parallel-group trial.

“This comprehensive study of platelet proteomics in a dietary trial of a 80:20 cis-9, trans-11 CLA blend revealed many intriguing findings worthy of further investigation,” wrote the researchers, led by Eva-Maria Bachmair from the Rowett Institute of Nutrition & Health at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.

“The focal adhesion pathway appeared an important mechanism of action which could contribute to the previously reported antiatherogenic effects of dietary cis-9, trans-11 CLA.”

The ingredient

CLA is a fatty acid naturally present in ruminant meat and dairy products. Due to changes in the Western diet, average intake of CLA has fallen; if the fat is removed from a dairy product to make a low fat version that will be acceptable to consumers, CLA is removed along with it.

The CLA market is expanding, Key players in the market include Stepan (formerly Lipid Nutrition) with its Clarinol ingredient and BASF (formerly Cognis) with its Tonalin ingredient.

Last year, market analyst Euromonitor highlighted CLA as a nutrient with a “key” role to play in the global weight management market.

“Euromonitor International sees sweeteners, such as stevia, and satiety ingredients, such as conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), as key for the future of weight management, as they enable products to combine health and flavor,” the group surmised.

It put the global weight management market (or at least 32 countries surveyed) at $144bn in 2010 and predicted it would grow to $162bn by 2015, with 95% of that accounted for by reduced calorie foods and drinks, or as it calls it, the “passive approach” of taking ingredients like sugar and fat out of foods.

Study details

Bachmair and her co-workers recruited overweight but otherwise healthy adults aged between 40 and 70 to participate in their three-month, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, parallel-group trial.

Participants were randomly assigned to receive either 4 grams per day of cis-9, trans-11 CLA-enriched oil or placebo oil, consisting of palm oil and soybean oil.

Using proteomic techniques the researchers deduced that CLA supplementation produced “significant alterations in levels of 46 spots of which 40 were identified”.

Changes to proteins such as CDC42hs, alpha-actinin-1 and integrin alpha-IIb precursor were observed, and these proteins or downstream proteins or metabolites are said to be “likely candidate biomarkers that could be used in future nutritional intervention studies to measure the efficacy of fatty acids on platelet function”.

Source: Molecular Nutrition & Food Research
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201100763
“Effect of supplementation with an 80:20 cis9,trans11 conjugated linoleic acid blend on the human platelet proteome”
Authors: E-M. Bachmair, M.L. Bots, L.I. Mennen, T. Kelder, C.T. Evelo, G.W. Horgan, I. Ford, B. de Roos

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