Conjugated Linoleic Acid (ALC): effects on the body

Conjugated linoleic acid is a slightly modified essential fatty acid. This feature offers a series of health effects for the body, especially in the regulation of appetite.

Despite this, you are being granted many properties that are not fully proven, which is why an adequate evaluation of its safety towards consumers is necessary. Otherwise, unwanted effects may appear over time.

Healthy effects of conjugated linoleic acid

The interest aroused by conjugated linoleic acid during the last years it is due to its beneficial properties in the cardiovascular field, as well as its anticancer effect.

Other favorable properties which have also been attributed to this compound are the following:

Let's take a closer look at the effects of conjugated linolenic acid:

Lipid-lowering and antiteratogenic effect

These two effects have been studied in animal models. The antiteratogenic effect, that is to say, to avoid affectations to the fetus in pregnant women, seems to be due to its hypocholesterolemic and hypotriglyceridemic action.

Some authors have hypothesized that the effects of conjugated linoleic acid on lipid metabolism could be mediated by the activation of transcription factors.

Antidiabetic effect

In relation to the effect on diabetic disease, it has been found in various animal studies that conjugated linoleic acid exercises an activity similar to certain drugs that act against this disease.

Clinical trials in patients with type 2 diabetes who have been given conjugated linoleic acid, have been shown to cause a significant decrease in fasting glucose, of leptin, body mass index and weight.

Read also: Remedies for type 2 diabetes: natural options

Antiadipogenic effect

Currently, there are numerous studies in experimental animals and in humans in which it has been shown that conjugated linoleic acid reduces body fat.

This weight reduction opens the door to the possible commercial exploitation of this fatty acid as useful product in the prevention and treatment of obesity.

However, this effect in humans presents a series of controversies, because when it has been administered to non-obese people, no significant changes in body fat have been observed.

The action of conjugated linoleic acid on the amount of body fat seems to be explained by a change in the energy balance. It is possible that this acid decreases food intake, increases the energetic content, and may even produce both phenomena at the same time.

Power the immune system

This is one of the most currently discovered effects, so there are still no studies to support it. It has been seen that this substance increases certain immunoglobulins, which are cells that recognize foreign substances or antigens.

In this way, these results have allowed to glimpse the utility of this fatty acid in the prevention and treatment of some food allergies.

Discover: The immune system: our army against diseases

Anticancer effect

This property is one of the best studied. Not only are there experimental studies, but also in humans, as is the case with the antiadipogenic effect.

The results obtained in relation to the prevention of breast cancer they are superior when comparing conjugated linoleic acid with other similar compounds.

The antioxidant effect, the increase of the immune response, the inhibition of the angiogenesis and the metastasis, together with the increase of the apoptosis (cell death), could be the mechanisms of the antitumor effect.

Properties on bone mineralization

Finally, there are also studies that evidence the possible usefulness of this substance in sarcopenia and in osteoporosis. Likewise, it also exerts its function on the articular cartilage.

In short, if human studies confirm the preliminary results obtained in animals, would be before a new utility of conjugated linoleic acid. Studies in humans are still required to confirm this effect.


Conjugated linoleic acid is a substance that offers a lot of benefits to the body. However, many of its properties are still being studied.

It is important to remember that conjugated linoleic acid should not be used as a substitution for any treatment established by the doctor. Discuss with the pharmacist or doctor, as misuse can have serious consequences.