Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) and Blood Pressure
Disclaimer: This content has been produced purely for informational and educational purposes only and is never intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical guidelines including diagnosis, advice, and treatment.
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is one of the most common medical conditions affecting numerous people worldwide. If left unchecked elevated blood pressure can damage multiple parts of your body and may result in serious complications.
High blood pressure is managed by lifestyle modifications and different therapeutic drugs, but if you need additional support, then dietary supplements may come in handy.
One such dietary supplement that can assist hypertension management is conjugated linoleic acid. It helps in maintaining normal blood pressure levels and prevents hypertension-associated complications.
Follow the article below to learn more about conjugated linoleic acid and its association with blood pressure.
HYPERTENSION (HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE)
The force or pressure exerted by the blood against blood vessel walls is defined as blood pressure. Hypertension is a condition in which the blood consistently pushes against blood vessel walls with a pressure of high magnitude.
High blood pressure or hypertension can be divided into two main categories:
- Primary hypertension – Also known as essential hypertension, it is a type of high blood pressure that does not have any definite cause. It can occur due to aging, an unhealthy lifestyle, and positive family history. It can be reserved by means of lifestyle modifications and medications.
- Secondary hypertension – It is a type of elevated blood pressure with a known cause. It occurs mainly due to some other medical conditions, such as diseases of the kidney, heart, or endocrine system.
Hypertension often goes unnoticed because, most of the time, it doesn't exhibit any signs or symptoms. That's why it is infamously known as a silent killer. Therefore, you should monitor your blood pressure regularly.
Sometimes when hypertension shows signs and symptoms they may include:
- Morning headaches
- Visual disturbances
Although primary hypertension cannot be associated with a definite cause; it may develop due to any of the factors:
- Insulin resistance
- High salt intake
- Lack of physical activity
Secondary hypertension, on the other hand, is caused by any underlying disease such as:
- Chronic kidney disease
- Cushing’s syndrome
High blood pressure needs proper management through lifestyle modifications and medications. If not managed timely, it can cause atherosclerosis (narrowing of the blood vessel wall) which may eventually lead to:
- Heart attack and heart failure
- Kidney failure
- Visual impairment
CONJUGATED LINOLEIC ACID
Conjugated linoleic acid belongs to the family of omega-6 essential fatty acids that can not be produced by your body. The word conjugated here signifies the arrangement of double bonds in the linoleic acid molecules.
Based on the arrangement of double bonds, conjugated linoleic acid can be further classified into 28 different forms. Your body doesn't possess enzymes to synthesize any of these forms of linoleic acid, and hence you must consume it in the diet.
Being an omega-6 fatty acid conjugated linoleic acid works together with omega-3 fatty acids to regulate metabolism, promote brain functions, support hair growth, and lower blood pressure.
HOW CONJUGATED LINOLEIC ACID HELP TO MANAGE HYPERTENSION?
Several researches have demonstrated the association of conjugated linoleic acid with high blood pressure. One of the risk factors for elevated blood pressure is insulin resistance, and conjugated linoleic acid manages this risk by increasing the levels of adiponectin (secreted by adipocytes), which improves insulin sensitivity.
Another risk factor for hypertension is obesity, and conjugated linoleic acid decreases body fat, suppresses hunger, and eventually leads to weight loss. As a result, it helps you in preventing and managing the hypertension.
Research has also shown that taking conjugated linoleic acid with antihypertensive drugs increases the effectiveness of medical therapy and helps you manage hypertension effectively.
Untreated hypertension may result in atherosclerosis, which can cause complications such as heart attack, kidney failure, stroke, etc. Conjugated linoleic acid consumption may also resolve atherosclerosis and prevent hypertension-associated complications.
SIDE EFFECTS OF CONJUGATED LINOLEIC ACID
Conjugated linoleic acid can be used on a regular basis as it is safe to use and doesn't cause any adverse effects. However, some people may occasionally experience any of the following side effects:
- Upset stomach
Although conjugated linoleic acid is a safe-to-use dietary supplement, it must be used with great care, especially under following circumstances:
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding – Anything a woman consumes when she is either pregnant or breasfeeding may directly affect the health of her baby. There is not a sufficient amount of information available regarding the use of conjugated linoleic acid during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Therefore, you must stay on the safe side, and avoid using conjugated linoleic acid supplementation while you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Metabolic syndrome – Consumption of conjugated linoleic acid supplements in metabolic syndrome may increase the risk of developing diabetes mellitus. If you are also suffering from metabolic syndrome, then do not use conjugated linoleic acid supplementation unless prescribed by your physician.
- Bleeding disorders – Conjugated linoleic acid is associated with decreased blood clotting and may therefore increase the risk of bruising and bleeding.
The prevalence of hypertension and related complications is increasing day by day. Although lifestyle modifications and antihypertensive medicines can help you manage high blood pressure, you can also opt for some dietary supplements to assist hypertension management.
Conjugated linoleic acid is one of the popular dietary supplements that can help you manage hypertension effectively. It decreases insulin resistance and body fat both of which are the risk factors for developing hypertension.
Conjugated linoleic acid may also enhance the effectiveness of antihypertensive medicines. It might resolve atherosclerosis as well and ultimately prevent complications associated with persistently elevated blood pressure.
It is recommended that you speak with your healthcare provider before starting conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) supplements, especially if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking medications for any underlying health conditions.
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