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Nutrient - CLA may help ease asthmatic airways

By Holly Taylor BSc(Hons) DipCNM MBANT NTCC

CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) is a fatty acid naturally present in meat and dairy products from grass fed animals. Unfortunately, changes in farming, food production and eating habits in the Western world mean that the average intake of CLA has fallen. Generally recognised for its role in body weight reduction, new data suggests that CLA may also improve the airway hyper-reactivity in asthmatics.

To carry out the study, researchers recruited 28 overweight, mild asthmatics, aged between 19 and 40, to participate in their study. Subjects were randomly assigned to receive either 4.5 grams per day of CLA or a dummy pill for 12 weeks, in addition to their usual medical treatment. Regular measurements of the participants’, airway reactivity were taken, throughout the study, along with standard measurements of body weight.

At the end of the study, the researchers noted significant improvements in airway hyper-responsiveness (AHR), which was accompanied by a significant improvement in the participants’ ability to tolerate strenuous exercise. In addition, subjects in the CLA group experienced significant reductions in body weight, compared to those taking the dummy pills.

Whether the positive effects were a result of the direct action of CLA on the airways or as a result of the reduction in body weight experienced by the participants is not yet clear. Commenting on their results, the researchers wrote: “CLA is safe, clinically effective and may be considered for overweight mild asthmatics seeking natural remedies as part of their asthma management plan. We encourage further studies to elucidate the role of CLA in a broader asthma population.” 

Article References

R Macredmond et al. (2010) Conjugated linoleic acid improves airway hyper-reactivity in overweight mild asthmatics. Clin Exp Allergy. 40(7):1071-8.

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