As a nutritionist who has devoted her entire career to ensuring those suffering with Inflammatory Bowel Disease like Crohn’s and Colitis can find relief through diet, I was ticked pink when I discovered a new study this morning!

The impressive study done by The Nutritional Immunology and Molecular Medicine Laboratory (NIMML) research team at Virginia Tech has discovered important new information on the efficacy of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) in treating Crohn’s disease.

What is CLA and Why does it work? CLA is a naturally occurring amino acid found in meat and dairy products. CLA is well known for its anti-cancer and immune modulatory properties. Moreover, CLA has some amazing anti inflammatory properties, and since Crohn’s Disease is an inflammatory disease, it makes a great deal of sense to give it a shot. CLA unlike medications, has a very low risk of side effects, so patients like me will gravitate twords it.

The study reported an astounding 50 percent of those with Crohn’s went into remission when taking CLA theraputically. I can attest to the importance of CLA, as I use it with my very own clients. Personally I can also vouche, since I have used it for my own Crohn’s Disease and experienced good results! In my practice, I often run a urinalysis on my IBD clients to test for amino acid levels. It is not a coincidence that those with Crohn’s appear to have unusally low CLA levels, which supports the findings of this study.

Dr. Josep Bassaganya-Riera, a Professor of Immunology, principal investigator of this human clinical trial, and the Director of the NIMML and the Center for Modeling Immunity to Enteric Pathogens agrees with states:

“The validation of the anti-inflammatory actions of CLA in the gut is in line with our goal because CLA is a natural fatty acid found in milk and ruminant products. The fully integrated bioinformatics, nutrition and immunology experimentation capabilities of NIMML enable the acceleration of translational biomedical research from computational and mathematical modeling into the clinic. CLA is an example of an anti-inflammatory compound in a pipeline of naturally occurring and synthetic compounds (e.g., abscisic acid, eleostearic acid, terephthalanilides) with tremendous therapeutic and prophylactic potential as anti-inflammatories”.

This article was published in the journal Clinical Nutrition and was awarded the American College of Gastroenterology Presidential Poster of distinction for human clinical trials.

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