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Supplemental Conjugated Linoleic Acid Consumption Does Not Influence Milk Macronutrient Contents in all Healthy Lactating Women

Mosley, Samuel A., Shahin, Alam M., Williams, Janet, McGuire, Mark A., McGuire, Michelle K.
Lipids 2007 v.42 no.8 pp. 723-729
dietary supplements, dietary fat, conjugated linoleic acid, food intake, breast milk, milk fat, fatty acid composition, lactation, women, breast feeding, human health
The term “conjugated linoleic acid” (CLA) refers to a group of positional and geometric isomers that are derived from linoleic acid and are found primarily in meat and milk products from ruminant animals. Due to the array of putative benefits associated with various forms of CLA, there has been recent interest in supplementing human diets with these fatty acids especially when weight loss is desired. However, in many animal models, CLA has been shown to decrease milk fat production. There is some concern, therefore, that maternal CLA supplementation during lactation might inadvertently decrease nutrient supply to the nursing infant. However, there is only limited research on the effect of CLA consumption on milk fat content in women. Based on previously published work from our laboratory, we hypothesized that CLA supplementation would reduce the milk fat percentage in lactating women in a dose-dependent manner. Breastfeeding women (n = 12) were assigned randomly to treatments of 4 g/day safflower oil (SFO), 2 g/day CLA plus 2 g/day SFO, or 4 g/day CLA in a double blind, 3 × 3 Latin square design. Conjugated linoleic acid supplements contained approximately equal amounts of cis9,trans11–18:2 and trans10,cis12–18:2; the two most common isoforms of CLA. Milk was collected by complete breast expression on the last day (day 5) of each intervention period and analyzed for macronutrient and fatty acid composition. On day 4 of each intervention period, infant milk consumption was estimated by 24 h weighing of the infant. Washout periods were 9 days in length. We observed a dose-dependent increase in the concentrations of cis9,trans11–18:2 and trans10,cis12–18:2 in the milk fat. However, we detected neither a change in overall macronutrient composition nor infant milk consumption. These data do not support those obtained from animal models or our previous human work suggesting that consumption of CLA mixtures necessarily reduces milk fat. It is possible that either (1) the interpretation of our previously published data should be reevaluated, and/or (2) there are important intra- and inter-species differences in this regard.