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Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 May;91(5):1157-64. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2009.28404. Epub 2010 Mar 3.

Effect of conjugated linoleic acid on body fat accretion in overweight or obese children.

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Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, USA.



Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is a supplemental dietary fatty acid that decreases fat mass accretion in young animals.


The aim of this study was to determine CLA's efficacy with regard to change in fat and body mass index (BMI; in kg/m(2)) in children.


We conducted a 7 +/- 0.5-mo randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of CLA in 62 prepubertal children aged 6-10 y who were overweight or obese but otherwise healthy. The subjects were randomly assigned to receive 3 g/d of 80% CLA (50:50 cis-9,trans-11 and trans-10,cis-12 isomers) or placebo in chocolate milk.


Fifty-three subjects completed the trial (n = 28 in the CLA group, n = 25 in the placebo group). CLA attenuated the increase in BMI (0.5 +/- 0.8) compared with placebo (1.1 +/- 1.1) (P = 0.05). The percentage change in body fat measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry was smaller (P = 0.001) in the CLA group (-0.5 +/- 2.1%) than in the placebo group (1.3 +/- 1.8%). The change in abdominal body fat as a percentage of total body weight was smaller (P = 0.02) in the CLA group (-0.09 +/- 0.9%) than in the placebo group (0.43 +/- 0.6%). There were no significant changes in plasma glucose, insulin, or LDL cholesterol between groups. Plasma HDL cholesterol decreased significantly more (P = 0.05) in the CLA group (-5.1 +/- 7.3 mg/dL) than in the placebo group (-0.7 +/- 8 mg/dL). Bone mineral accretion was lower (P = 0.04) in the CLA group (0.05 +/- 0.03 kg) than in the placebo group (0.07 +/- 0.03 kg). Reported gastrointestinal symptoms did not differ significantly between groups.


CLA supplementation for 7 +/- 0.5 mo decreased body fatness in 6-10-y-old children who were overweight or obese but did not improve plasma lipids or glucose and decreased HDL more than in the placebo group. Long-term investigation of the safety and efficacy of CLA supplementation in children is recommended.

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