Conjugated Linoleic Acid in Adipose Tissue and Risk of Myocardial Infarction

OK, I have a confession. I’m obsessed with this study. It offers support for a food principle that I’ve been preaching about for a long time: the benefits of grass-fed beef and dairy.

Authors L.A. Smit, A. Baylin, H. Campos
Institution Department of Nutrition Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA.
Publication Name The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Publication Date July 2010

Despite the high saturated fat content of dairy products, no clear association between dairy product intake and risk of myocardial infarction (MI) has been observed. Dairy products are the main source of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA; 18:2n-7t), which is produced by the ruminal biohydrogenation of grasses eaten by cows. Pasture-grazing dairy cows have more CLA in their milk than do grain-fed cows. Some animal models have reported beneficial effects of CLA on atherosclerosis.
The objective was to determine the association between the 9c,11t-CLA isomer in adipose tissue and risk of MI.
The studied population consisted of 1813 incident cases of a first nonfatal acute MI and 1813 population-based controls matched for age, sex, and area of residence. All subjects lived in Costa Rica-a country that uses traditional pasture-grazing for dairy cows. Conditional logistic regression was used to estimate multivariate odds ratios and 95% CIs.
Adipose tissue 9c,11t-CLA was associated with a lower risk of MI in basic and multivariate models. Compared with the lowest quintile, odds ratios and 95% CIs were 0.80 (0.61, 1.04) for the second, 0.86 (0.64, 1.14) for the third, 0.62 (0.46, 0.84) for the fourth, and 0.51 (0.36, 0.71) for the fifth quintiles (P for trend <0.0001). Dairy intake was not associated with risk of MI, despite a strong risk associated with saturated fat intake.
9c,11t-CLA, which is present in meaningful amounts in the milk of pasture-grazed cows, might offset the adverse effect of the saturated fat content of dairy products.

Drew Ramsey, MD

Drew Ramsey, M.D. is a psychiatrist, author, and farmer. He is a clear voice in the mental health conversation and one of psychiatry’s leading proponents of using nutritional interventions. He is an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

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  1. I struggle with dairy. So many dairy products are contaminated with hormones and cows that are forced to product 12 months a year. Not to mention, the pasteurization process that kills so much of what was good in the milk products in the first place. There are other sources of CLA that are less toxic to the human systems. The dairy of today is not the same dairy of just 20 years ago. I believe there is a strong connection between our gut flora and our brain. High level of antibiotics in animal products, human consumption for every sign of a cold, and our water systems which contain high levels of hormones, our bodies are bombarded with a vast array of problems, plus the sugars in every processed food has changed our livers and pancreatic systems. The SAD diet has 1/10 the fiber necessary to move these pollutants out and the body stores them in fatty cells. Never has any Nation ever faced such an overwhelming change in Mental Health, Diabetes, Cancers, or Heart Disease. We are what we eat, ate! Soils hold toxins for years and better living through chemistry is not working out so well. Just my personal journey and I am blessed to have lived this long. More fiber, more green leafy veggies, more fruit, more organic natural clean food sources, and grass fed bison and smaller fresh seafood whenever I can get it. But its hard to find.
    Thanks for sharing these articles!

    1. I totally agree that dairy can be tricky. Sounds like you are pursuing a great set of personal eating rules – more greens and fiber, more veggies etc. There are many people with dairy sensitivities but also the quality of types of dairy products we consume has really changed. In the Eat Complete recipes, I used more kefir and mostly fermented dairy products as well as grassfed dairy.
      Thanks for the Comment!

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