CLAs as Prebiotic Agents

Project entitled:

Prebiotic Potential of Conjugated Linoleic Acids

Ismail Fliss, Edward Farnworth, Yvan Chouinard, Claude Champagne, Marie-Rose Van Clasteren


Milk is a complete food that provides a good source of calcium and protein, but the milk fat (MF) it contains is often viewed negatively. Among the most studied compounds in MF, conjugated linoleic acids (CLAs) have received a lot of interest due to their potential health benefits. However, the mechanisms of action of CLAs have not yet been established, and scientific evidence remains necessary to accept the claims. As part of this research project, we used innovative in vitro models to study the metabolism of dairy-based CLAs. We also assessed the impact of these compounds on the balance of the digestive ecosystem. The results revealed that all fatty acids (FAs) in milk were 79.6% digestible and that CLAs seemed to be highly digestible compared to other long-chain FAs. On the other hand, our results showed that short-chain FAs inhibited lactobacillus growth and that this inhibition increased with the concentration of FAs and the length of the carbon chain. However, growth stimulation was observed with other probiotics, namely bifidobacteria, when FAs were used in low concentrations. On a scientific level, this project made it possible to acquire priceless fundamental knowledge about the digestive metabolism of dairy FAs and their positive effects on colonic microbiota. This new information can continue to improve the image of dairy MF among consumers and develop new high-value-added products likely to increase the competitiveness of Quebec’s dairy industry at the national and international level.