Conjugated Linoleic Acid

Cancer Fighter in Milk

  • M. A. McGuire Department of Animal and Veterinary Science, University of Idaho, Moscow 83844-2330
Keywords: milk, protein content, fat content, conjugated linoleic acid, anticarcinogen


As an important source of nutrients, milk provides high-quality protein, energy, calcium and a variety of vitamins and minerals. Recent research has focused on altering the fat and protein content of milk and other dairy products in order to improve the nutrient content of these foods so that they more aptly reflect current dietary recommendations and trends. For example, diet is a contributing factor to the onset or progression of some cancers, with epidemiological studies indicating diet composition may be related to 35 percent of human cancer deaths.11 A few substances in our diet have been identified as anti-carcinogens, but most are of plant origin and are only present in trace concentrations. However, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a component of milk fat, introduces an exciting twist to what we know about diet and cancer. Unlike most naturally occurring anticarcinogens, CLA is potent at extremely low levels and present in foods from ruminant animals.

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