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Photo by Lori Greig

Conjugated linoleic acids are a group of chemicals found in a fatty acid, known as, linoleic acid. Linoleic acid is the most common of all omega-6 fatty acids and is most commonly found in vegetable oils. According to, Authority Nutrition, there are 28 different forms of conjugated linoleic acids. Conjugated linoleic acids are commonly found in beef and dairy, especially from grass fed cows. Though these types of fats are typically considered to be un-healthy, in the case of conjugated linoleic acids they are beneficial to your health. Conjugated linoleic acid is an essential polyunsaturated fat that you can only obtain from your diet.

The many benefits associated with conjugated linoleic acids, include:

  • Aiding weight loss
  • Cancer prevention
  • Healthy digestion
  • Growth and developmental health
  • Bone strength
  • Muscle building
  • Reducing food related allergies

It has been suggested that microbes in the gastrointestinal tract can convert linoleic acid into different forms of conjugated linoleic acids through a bio hydrogenation process. The process causes changes to the position and configuration of the fat’s double bonds; this results in in a single bond between the double bonds.  It has been shown that conjugated linoleic acid has immune-enhancing effects. The conjugated linoleic acid that is found in saturated fats may be able to offset the adverse effects of the saturated fat content and have positive effects on many different areas, including, blood sugar regulation to hormone regulation. It has been proven that the quality of fatty acids you consume is extremely important in order to reduce the risk of cancer; conjugated linoleic acid have been shown to be healthy in many ways. They have also been shown to reduce inflammation, which leads to less free radicals in the body that is likely linked to lower cancer risk.

The overall health benefits of conjugated linoleic acids have been studied on multiple occasions and while more studies are still needed to confirm the absolute effects of its consumption; in the meantime, it is believed that Conjugated linoleic acids can have significant health benefits, despite that they come from fatty food sources. The overall effects of conjugated linoleic acids have direct results on the body’s immune system and its ability to ward of free radicals and illnesses. The top sources of conjugated linoleic acids are grass fed beef, full fat dairy products, and butter. The secret is to purchase high quality grass fed beef and dairy and to remember to consume them in moderation.

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