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Occurrence of conjugated linoleic acid in ruminant products and its physiological functions

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Milk and meat products derived from ruminants contain a mixture of positional and geometric isomers of C18:2 with conjugated double bonds, and cis-9, trans-11C18:2 (conjugated linoleic acid, CLA) is the predominant isomer. The presence of CLA in ruminant products relates to the biohydrogenation of unsaturated fatty acids by rumen bacteria. Although, it has been suggested that cis-9, trans-11 CLA is an intermediate that escapes complete ruminal biohydrogenation of linoleic acid, is absorbed from the digestive tract, and transported to tissues via circulation. Its major source is endogenous biosynthesis involving Δ9-desaturase with trans-11C18:1 produced in the rumen as the substrate. CLA has recently been recognized in animal studies as a nutrient that exerts important physiological effects, including anticarcinogenic effects, prevention of cholesterol-induced atherosclerosis, enhancement of the immune response, reduction in fat accumulation in body, ability to enhance growth promotion, antidiabetic effects and improvement in bone mineralization. The present review focused on the origin of CLA in ruminant products, and the health benefits, metabolism and physiological functions of CLA.
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Keywords: conjugated linoleic acid; physiological functions; rumen hydrogenation; ruminant products; trans-11C18:1

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2005

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