Supplementation with conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) reduced body fat mass particularly in the legs, and had positive effects on lean body mass, says a new clinical trial supported by Lipid Nutrition.
Writing in this month's British Journal of Nutrition, researchers from Norway, led by Jean-Michel Gaullier from Link Medical Research AS, report that overweight and obese subjects randomly supplemented to receive a daily dose of Lipid Nutrition's Clarinol CLA ingredient experienced an average loss of 3.4 per cent in body fat mass, compared to placebo.
"The current study if the first to report that the reduction of body fat mass occurred mostly in the legs and that CLA had a tendency to decrease the amount of abdominal fat mass, which is in-line with the observed significant decrease in the waist-hip ratio," wrote Gaullier.
With 50 per cent of Europeans and 62 per cent of Americans classed as overweight, the food industry is waking up to the potential of products for weight loss and management, with the category estimated to already be worth $7bn.
One ingredient with a growing body of supporting evidence behind its apparent benefits is CLA, with several companies offering the ingredient for the weight management market.
The new study, supported by Lipid Nutrition who also provided the Clarinol supplement, recruited 118 overweight and obese men and women (average age 47.3, BMI 28-32 kg per sq.m) and assigned them to receive daily CLA supplements (3.4 grams per day) or placebo (olive oil) for six months in a randomised, double-blind trial.
The researchers report that, at the end of the study, subjects in the CLA supplemented group had significantly reduced body fat mass, compared to placebo, with the reduction most notable in the legs (0.8 kg loss versus placebo).
Lean body mass measurements also increased in the CLA group, by an average of 0.5 kg, while no significant changes in bone mineral density, blood lipid levels, or markers of inflammation.
A difference was also observed between the sexes with women losing more body fat mass than men.
"However, the efficacy of CLA by gender should be interpreted with care since only one man for every four women participated in the studies, thus reducing the probability of observing small but significant body composition changes in men," stated the researchers.
While several mechanisms have been proposed to explain the effects of CLA on body weight, including modifications of energy expenditure and metabolism, increased programmed cell death (apoptosis) of fat cells (adipocytes), or down-regulation of leptin, a hormone that plays a key role in the body's control of energy. Elucidation of the actual mechanism "is still an active area of research," they said.
"We conclude that CLA seems to be safe and well tolerated," wrote the researchers. "The regionalised reduction in fat mass is encouraging and may represent an attractive dietary supplement, especially, but not exclusively, for women with high BMI."
Bob Rasmus, sales director at Lipid Nutrition, welcomed the research: "This latest research on Clarinol CLA further supports Lipid Nutrition's commitment to scientifically based ingredients that have a healthy benefit for consumers."
Lipid Nutrition's interest in the weight management market is not limited to Clarinol. Indeed, its Pinnothin ingredient containing the polyunsaturated fatty acid pinolenic acid derived from the seeds of the Korean pine nut tree (Pinus koraiensis) was recently crowned the most innovative ingredient at the First International Conference on Innovations and Trends in Weight Loss and Weight Management.
The pine nut extract is reported to function by boosting the expression of the appetite-suppressing hormones (glucagon-like peptide-1) GLP-1 and cholecystokinin (CCK). The hormones are reported to work by delaying the emptying of the stomach (gastric emptying) and thereby promoting the feeling of fullness.
Source: British Journal of Nutrition
Volume 97, Pages 550-560
"Six months supplementation with conjugated linoleic acid induces regional-specific fat mass decreases in overweight and obese"
Authors: J.-M. Gaullier, J. Halse, H.O. Hoivik, K. Hoye, C. Syvertsen, M. Nurminiemi, C. Hassfeld, A. Einerhand, M. O'Shea, O. Gudmundsen