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Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) and Collagen

Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) and Collagen


DISCLAIMER: This article has been written for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Linoleic acid and collagen are the nutrients required for the proper functioning of the body. These dietary supplements offer several benefits to general health and well-being. They support heart and brain health, aid digestion, strengthen bones and muscles, boost immunity and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

Modern science has unearthed various health benefits of conjugated linoleic acid and collagen on the body. This article details conjugated linoleic acid and collagen, their potential benefits, possible risks associated with overconsumption, and foods rich in both these nutrients.

What is Conjugated Linoleic Acid?

Conjugated linoleic acid is a type of fatty acid abundantly found in meat and dairy products and is believed to have various benefits. CLA supplements are also prepared from safflower oil and are prescribed as effective weight loss supplements. These supplements help reduce the deposit of body fats and boost immune function. It is estimated that our daily average diet provides about 15-174 mg of CLA.

Linoleic acid is an omega-6 fatty acid largely found in vegetable oils and other foods. There are almost 28 different types of conjugated linoleic acid and they vary in the arrangement of double bonds. It is a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid and is a trans-fat naturally found in various healthy foods.

Health Benefits of CLA

CLA supplements are believed to be highly beneficial for overall health and well-being.  They are considered effective for weight loss and digestive health. Research on the health-promoting effects of conjugated linoleic acid showed conflicting results and studies are conducted on animal models.

Lower the Risk of Heart Diseases

Hardening or narrowing of arteries occurs due to the deposition of fats in blood vessels and increases the risk of heart disease. The study revealed that consumption of CLA supplements in mice resulted in decreased risk of heart disease. These supplements also have the potential to reduce blood pressure and LDL levels which can improve heart health.

May Promote Weight Loss

According to research, CLA supplements have the ability to promote weight loss to some extent. In a review study, it is stated that CLA helps break down body fats and it is the reason people believe that CLA supplements help reduce weight.

Can Boost Brain Health

Studies have shown that linoleic acid plays a great role in the structure and integrity of cell membranes which improves brain health. Conjugated linoleic acid is known to improve mood and brain functions. Studies suggest that low levels of linoleic acid result in mood disorders. It was also observed that CLA level was decreased in the brain (cortex and hippocampus-decision-making areas of the brain).

Support skin and Hair Health

Linoleic acid has the ability to regulate the water permeability barrier of the skin and provides hydration. Reduced levels of LA result in scaly and itchy skin leading to various skin disorders. This acid also promotes wound healing, prevents infection, reduces inflammation, and relieves acne.

In addition to skin health, linoleic acid improves hair growth and is used as an effective treatment for thinning hair.

Improve Bone Mineral Density

Studies revealed that consumption of a sufficient amount of linoleic acid including omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids improves bone mineral density and reduces the risk of fracture. They may regulate bone cell metabolism, improve bone mineralization and prevent fractures.

Boost Immunity

Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids both are beneficial for immune health. They regulate cellular immune reactions, improve immune function and reduce the severity of autoimmune diseases.

Foods Rich in Linoleic Acid

Linoleic acid is found abundantly in a variety of foods like soybean, olive oil, almonds, pecan, corn oil, and sunflower seeds.

Possible Risks or Side Effects

Polyunsaturated fatty acids offer a variety of benefits to the body but too much consumption of omega-6 fatty acids may disturb the balance between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Disturbance of fatty acid balance may cause inflammation and other serious side effects.

What is Collagen?

Collagen is a structural protein present in almost all body parts including bones, muscles, tendons, skin, and others. It offers a variety of benefits to the body including improving skin structure and integrity and strengthening the bones.

Collagen is found in several different types most important of which is type 1, 11, 111, and 1V present in connective tissues, intervertebral discs, reticular fibers, and kidney, ears, and eye lens.

Collagen supplements are available in powder or capsule forms and the type of collagen varies in each supplement.

Health Benefits of Collagen

Collagen is a protein naturally found in various body parts and offers a perk of benefits to the body.

May Improve Skin Health

Collagen is a major protein found in the skin and provides elasticity and hydration. It maintains the structure and integrity of the skin, reduces the onset of wrinkles, and slows the aging process.

Alleviate Joint Pain

Collagen plays a key role in maintaining the integrity of cartilage and joints. As the person ages, collagen production decreases leading to an increased risk of osteoarthritis. A study showed that the consumption of collagen supplements resulted in decreased joint stiffness and improved osteoarthritic symptoms.

Improve Muscle Mass

Collagen is the most abundant component of skeletal muscle mass and helps people with sarcopenia. A study revealed that the consumption of 15g of collagen helped improve muscle mass and strength in people doing workouts.

Promote Hair and Nail Health

Studies revealed that taking collagen supplements helps increase nail strength and prevent brittleness. They may also promote hair growth and prevent hair thinning.

Foods Rich in Collagen

Gelatin-containing food such as bone broth is a rich source of collagen. This structural protein is also found in connective tissues of animals like chicken skin, pork skin, beef, and fish.

Possible Risks or Side Effects

Collagen supplements are considered safe to use and well tolerated however, they may also associate with some risks.

Some people are allergic to food sources from which they are made like fish, shellfish, and eggs. Individuals who are allergic should avoid these supplements. In some people, collagen supplements may cause some digestive problems like heartburn and a feeling of fullness.

Bottom Line

Macronutrients like fats and proteins play an integral part in the optimal functioning of the body. Conjugated linoleic acid and collagen offer a variety of benefits to the body including improving heart health, supporting digestion, promoting muscle and bone strength, boosting skin health, and enhancing immunity.

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