Certain constituents of the dietary supplement known as conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) may have a role to play in fighting prostatic and colorectal cancer cells, according to the results of a new US laboratory study.
The cancer-cell response was dose-dependent, with higher levels of CLA producing the best results.
Even though this was a study in vitro – using test tubes instead of living human patients – the results add to the mounting evidence for the possible use of nutrition and natural interventions as a safe and effective form of cancer treatment, especially in comparison to aggressive pharmacological therapy and all of its attendant adverse side-effects.
A naturally occurring fatty acid found primarily in milk, beef and dairy products, CLA is a member of the omega-6 family. In its therapeutic action, however, it mimics that of omega-3 fatty acids such as flaxseed and fish oils, which have been proven to have significant health benefits.
Other research so far suggests that CLA may also help to maintain a healthy heart and veins as well as healthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels; it can also act as an antioxidant and help prevent the development of fatty deposits leading to cardiovascular disease.
Recent CLA studies in human subjects suggest positive effects in helping to control blood fats and sugar, and body weight when used in conjunction with diet and exercise (Cancer Lett, 2002; 177: 163-72).