Data from a number of studies and trials have shown that different conjugated linoleic acids (CLA's) may produce beneficial effects on cancer, atherosclerosis, hypertension, diabetes and changes in body composition. Despite the increasing knowledge about CLA's implications on health, the mechanism of action of these fatty acids is not completely understood. Moreover, human studies indicate that some of these beneficial effects are considerably less evident than anticipated from mice studies, while the efficacy and safety of dietary supplements containing CLA have been questioned in some intervention trials. Recently, it has been suggested that the anti-carcinogenic and anti-atherosclerosis effects of CLA's stem from its anti-inflammatory properties. Because inflammatory responses are associated with the pathophysiology of many diseases, including obesity and the metabolic syndrome, the investigation in this area is of growing interest in recent years.