Hmm. Not the most catchy title. An important one nevertheless. Linoleic Acid is a fat that everyone has in their diet. Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) is a healthy form of the fat. Regular Linoleic Acid is not. The two forms of Linoleic Acid cannot be made in your body. It has to come from food. While both forms of Linoleic Acid are essential for life, there is a big difference between the two. Hopefully this article will give you some information on how to benefit from these fats.
What are Conjugated Linoleic Acid and Linoleic Acid?
Both CLA and Linoleic Acid are polyunsaturated fats that many people consume in their diets. The difference between Conjugated Linoleic Acid and regular Linoleic Acid has to do with some bonds in the atoms that make up their molecular structure. Some of the bonds are ‘conjugated’ or contiguous. The bonds in regular Linoleic Acid are separated by some other molecules.
When you eat meat and dairy products, especially grass-fed meat and dairy, your body absorbs Conjugated Linoleic Acid. Regular Linoleic Acid goes into your body from the consumption of industrial seed oil like vegetable oil or corn oil.
There are many bad effects to your body from consuming seed oils. Especially in the elderly. The Linoleic Acid breaks down in your body to something called oxidized metabolites. Those metabolites then cause damage to your body leading to problems such as:
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Blood Clots
- Alzheimer’s Disease
Many people can avoid the harmful effects of Linoleic Acid by just avoiding cooking with the industrial oils. Use coconut oil instead. Or grass-raised butter. Grass-raised butter has the benefit or providing the good stuff – Conjugated Linoleic Acid.
The Benefits of CLA
Conjugated Linoleic Acid, on the other hand, has all sorts of benefits for people at any age. Especially the elderly. Here are some of the benefits of consuming CLA from grass-fed beef and dairy:
- Reduce cancerous tumors by up to 50%, especially for cancers such as breast, lung, colorectal, skin and stomach
- Increase insulin sensitivity – it can mimic the effects of diabetic drugs
- Inflammation reduction
- Lessen the effects of food allergies
- Reduction in Asthma
- Cardiovascular disease
- High blood pressure
- Weight loss
- Osteoporosis reduction
- Lower high cholesterol and triglycerides
Quite the wonderful fat. The primary way CLA helps your body is to maintain a healthy balance between Omega 3 and Omega 6 fats in your body. When cows are grazing on grass, their bodies maintain a ratio right around 2:1 for Omega-6 to Omega-3. That is about an ideal ratio for humans too.
The Importance of Grass-Fed Meat and Dairy
You can still receive some benefit of CLA from factory-farmed meat and dairy. However, the Omega-6 goes much higher and the ratio goes a bit lopsided towards Omega-6 when cows are just fed grain. The grass-fed varieties are very much going to decrease the Omega-6 and provide the most health benefits.
There are lots of different grass-fed meats and dairy products that contain both Conjugated Linoleic Acid and other really good nutrients. We see many elderly residents come to our assisted living homes that did not have access to this nutritional information. That’s why we can see some dramatic turnarounds when they do starting eating a healthy diet and begin doing some light exercise. Consuming Conjugated Linoleic Acid from healthy sources and avoiding Linoleic Acid can really make a difference in someone’s health at any age.