CLA stands for conjugated linoleic acid. CLA is a fatty acid found in our diet. The body can not produce these fatty acids. They can only be obtained through the diet.
CLA is found in ruminant and more specifically in food products from ruminants such as meat, cheese and dairy products.
CLA is formed from linoleic acid (LA) by a rearrangement of the unsaturated bonds in the linoleic acid molecule. CLA fatty acids are also referred to as CLA-isomers. Conjugated linoleic acid is a collective name for certain natural isomers of omega 6 / linoleic acid. The two main isomers of CLA are the c9, t11 (cis-9, trans-11), the shape and t10, c12 (trans-10, cis-12) form. The unsaturated bonds in CLA are conjugated; they are separated by only one single bond. This distinguishes the beneficial CLA hardened trans fatty acids, which are undesirable in a healthy diet.
CLA in the diet
CLA belongs in a healthy diet at home. Thanks to modern food production methods can decrease the levels of CLA in the diet. CLA is naturally produced by cattle and is thus present in milk, meat and dairy products. It is known that increased CLA levels in milk when cows are fed with grass instead of grain. Therefore, it is believed that CLA in food is much higher when cattle is fed with grass. However, nowadays the CLA levels are lower due to changed and economical feeding methods.
Estimates of the consumption data of CLA by humans suggest that CLA intake varies from 160 to 430 mg of CLA per day. This variation is dependent on a number of factors, including choice of foods.