Much of the information about conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), an increasingly popular food supplement, relates to its fat-fighting benefits. But in fact, CLA does much more than that and was actually first discovered thanks to its ability to protect against cancer. Read on to find out how this natural substance could help to reduce your risk of cancer in the future.
What is CLA?
CLA is a polyunsaturated fatty acid that we get from eating beef and dairy products. It is thought to have a number of benefits, including its ability to reduce body fat mass, increase insulin sensitivity and possibly fight off atherosclerosis (furring of the arteries). But it was a study investigating the anti-cancer properties of a beef extract – later discovered to be due to CLA – that first uncovered the substance and its potential to reduce cancer risk.
The Original Study
CLA’s anti-cancer properties were first spotted in 1979, when scientists at the University of Wisconsin found that mice treated with a strong cancer-causing chemical developed fewer tumors if they were exposed to a beef extract. At that time, researchers did not know what was responsible for the extract’s protective effect, and it wasn’t until 1987 that CLA itself was identified.
Recent Research Supports Cancer-Fighting Capabilities
Since the discovery of CLA, a number of other studies have been carried out in order to shed light on its effects. For instance, a study published in 1991 by scientists at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo found that CLA blocked the development of breast tumors in rats given a cancer-causing chemical. Writing in the journal Cancer Research, the scientists concluded that CLA “is more powerful than any other fatty acid in modulating tumor development”.
In 1998, Wistar Institute scientists reported in the journal Anticancer Research that mice injected with human prostate cancer cells developed smaller tumors and the disease was less likely to spread to their lungs if their diet was supplemented with CLA. This led the study authors to suggest that dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids such as CLA “may influence the prognosis of prostatic cancer patients, thus opening the possibility of new therapeutic options”.
More recently, in May 2013, Iranian scientists published a study in the journal Integrative Cancer Therapies that looked at the effect of CLA supplementation on inflammation in patients who were receiving chemotherapy treatment for rectal cancer. They discovered that CLA improved levels of proteins associated with inflammation, angiogenesis (the growth of new blood vessels required to sustain tumors) and tumor spread. They concluded: “It seems that CLA may provide new complementary treatment by reducing tumor invasion and resistance to cancer treatment in patients with rectal cancer.”
How to Increase Your Intake of CLA
Those of you who wish to increase your intake of CLA can do so by eating meat from grass-fed cattle. However, if you’re not keen on meat, cannot find grass fed meat, or want an easier way to boost your levels, supplements could be the way forward.
GNet has sourced a high-quality supplement from Health Boostâ„¢ Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), which delivers potentially beneficial amounts of CLA in an easy-to-take capsule. Each capsule contains 750mg of CLA and is prepared in a laboratory in the US, guaranteeing its quality and authenticity.
Four to six capsules per day, split between breakfast and dinnertime, is said to provide maximum effect. However, you should talk to a healthcare practitioner before taking CLA for the first time – particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, living with a known medical condition or under the age of 18.
Finally, we should stress that CLA is not a cure for cancer. It simply might help to reduce your risk of certain forms of the disease.