Conjugated linoleic acid
Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is a term for isomers of linoleic acid (C18:2). The function of CLA involves regulation of body composition and energy retention (Müller et al., 2000).
Addition of CLA to grow-finish diets has been related to improvements in growth performance, carcass leanness, and fat firmness (Eggert et al., 2001; Thiel-Cooper et al., 2001; Larsen et al., 2009). The mode of action of CLA involves the regulation of enzymes and gene expression in lipid metabolism (Jiang et al., 2010). Also, CLA increases the proportion of saturated to unsaturated fatty acids in fat, which leads to greater fat firmness (Larsen et al., 2009). There is a nutritional opportunity for addition of CLA to grow-finish diets to offset the issues of fat softness and iodine value that arise from diets with unsaturated fatty acid sources, such as diets with distillers dried grains with solubles (White et al., 2009).
Another potential benefit of feeding CLA to grow-finish pigs is the incorporation of CLA in pork products (Dugan et al., 2004). Conjugated linoleic acid-rich pork products have been shown to provide health benefits and may have an appeal to consumers.