CLA may protect against elderly muscle loss

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Linoleic acid, Fatty acid

Supplementation with conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) prevented age-related muscle loss in mice, says a new study using Lipid Nutrition’s Clarinol ingredient.

Mice receiving daily supplements of the commercially available CLA showed higher muscle mass than control animals, according to findings published in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications​.

CLA (conjugated linolenic acid) 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 benefit of both forms

Lipid Nutrition's CLA ingredient is derived from safflowers. It has two CLA isomers - known as trans-10 cis-12 and cis-9 trans-11, are respectively responsible for the effects.

According to the new findings, the presence of both forms is important for the benefits.

“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,”​ wrote the researchers.

“As CLA-mix also showed an equal efficacy as of 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.”

According to the research team, led by Gabriel Fernandes from University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, humans typically lose between 1 and 2 per cent of their muscle mass every year after the age of 50.

“Such 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,”​ they said.

Study details

Fernandes and his co-workers divided 12-month old into four groups, one of which received a diet with 10 per cent corn oil, while the others were supplemented with 0.5 per cent of only cis-9 trans-11, only trans-10 cis-12, or a mix of both (Clarinol).

After six months the researchers note that both 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 groups also exhibited increased cellular energy production (ATP), as well as higher levels of the antioxidant enzymes catalase and glutathione peroxidase in the muscles, compared to the corn oil and​cis-9 trans-11 CLA groups.

“Thus, CLA may be a novel dietary supplement that will prevent [age-related muscle loss] by maintaining redox balance during ageing,”​ concluded the researchers.

Commenting on the study, Lipid Nutrition’s John Kurstjens told NutraIngredients that there results were “very interesting”​. He said that people want to remain healthy and active for a longer time and that the study indicated a role for CLA’s to reduce age-related loss of muscle mass. With ageing populations common in many countries, “this is a very interesting market for CLA,”​ he added.

Source: Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
12 June 2009, Volume 383, Issue 4, Pages 513-518
"Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) prevents age-associated skeletal muscle loss"
Authors: M.M. Rahman, G.V. Halade, A. El Jamali, G. Fernandes

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