Conjugated Linoleic Acid and Postmenopausal Women's Health

J Food Sci. 2015 Jun;80(6):R1137-43. doi: 10.1111/1750-3841.12905. Epub 2015 May 11.


Declined estrogen levels in women after menopause can cause a number of significant health issues, and various estrogen receptor ligands have been clinically evaluated for postmenopausal treatment. Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) has been shown to display protective effects against menopausal symptoms such as bone loss and metabolic dysfunctions in both animals and humans. In particular, it inhibits the proliferations of breast and endometrial cancer cells through estrogen receptor α-mediated mechanism(s). These findings suggest that CLA may provide beneficial effects on menopausal symptoms, while protecting the endometrium and breast from estrogen stimulation. Thus, understanding the effects of CLA on menopausal disorders and ER metabolism is important in development of novel therapeutic options for use in postmenopausal women with or without conventional estrogen therapy. In this report, we review literature regarding the impact of CLA on menopausal symptoms in cell lines, rodents, and humans, along with potential mechanism(s). We also discuss safety consideration for CLA use in humans.

Keywords: CLA; breast cancer; conjugated linoleic acid; estrogen; estrogen receptors; menopause.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / chemistry
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Linoleic Acids, Conjugated / chemistry*
  • Linoleic Acids, Conjugated / therapeutic use*
  • MCF-7 Cells
  • Menopause
  • Metabolic Diseases / metabolism
  • Metabolic Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Patient Safety
  • Postmenopause
  • Receptors, Estrogen / metabolism
  • Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators / metabolism


  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Linoleic Acids, Conjugated
  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators