A study that appears in the January issue of the Journal of Nutrition says diabetics who supplemented their diets with CLA had lower body mass and lower blood sugar levels by the end of the eight-week study.
The study also found that higher CLA levels in the bloodstream meant lower levels of leptin, a hormone believed to regulate fat levels. High leptin levels may play a role in obesity, which is a major risk factor for adult-onset diabetes.
The study included 21 people with adult-onset diabetes. Those in the study group took a supplement that contained a mix of rumenic acid and a CLA isomer called 10-12. The people in the control group took a safflower oil supplement.
Both groups took their supplements daily for eight weeks. Blood samples were taken from each participant at the end of the study to check their CLA levels.
Fasting blood glucose levels decreased in nine of the 11 people taking the CLA supplement, compared to two of the 10 people taking the safflower supplement.
Fasting blood glucose levels decreased nearly fivefold in the people taking the CLA supplements, compared to those taking the safflower supplements.
CLA supplements are available to consumers, but the authors recommend that those with diabetes get CLA from food sources such as beef, lamb and dairy products.
Here's where you can learn more about CLA.