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J Nutr. 2005 May;135(5):1124-30.

The combination of dietary conjugated linoleic acid and treadmill exercise lowers gain in body fat mass and enhances lean body mass in high fat-fed male Balb/C mice.

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Department of Medicine, Division of Clinical Immunology, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio 78229-3900, USA.


Nearly half of the U.S. adult population is overweight or obese, which may be related to increased energy intake combined with lack of physical activity. Obesity increases the risk of several chronic diseases including diabetes, coronary heart disease, hypertension, and stroke. Conjugated linoleic acids (CLA) were shown to decrease fat and increase lean mass in several animal studies. However, the effects of CLA in combination with exercise (Ex) on body composition have not been studied in an animal model. We examined the effect of a low concentration of either safflower oil as control (0.5%) or mixed isomers of CLA (0.4%) along with treadmill exercise on body composition in male Balb/C mice fed a high-fat diet (20% corn oil) in a 2 x 2 factorial design. CLA consumption lowered change in fat mass (P < 0.001) confirming the results of other studies, and change in fat mass decreased further (P < 0.001) with CLA and exercise. Change in lean mass did not increase with exercise alone; it increased, although not significantly, with CLA alone and increased significantly (P < 0.05) due to the combination of CLA and exercise. This effect was accompanied by decreased serum leptin levels and lower leptin mRNA expression in peritoneal fat (P < 0.001). Serum insulin, glucose, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, and interleukin-6 were lower in CLA-fed mice than in controls (P < 0.05), whereas serum TNF-alpha was increased by exercise (P < 0.05). Exercise increased oxygen consumption and energy expenditure when measured under resting conditions (P < 0.05). In summary, the combination of dietary CLA and exercise decreased fat mass and increased lean mass in mice fed a high-fat diet, and these effects may be related in part to decreased serum leptin and exercise-induced increases in oxygen consumption and energy expenditure.

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