Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) has garnered special attention as a food bioactive compound that prevents and attenuates obesity. Although most studies on the effects of CLA on obesity have focused on the reduction of body fat, a number of studies have demonstrated that CLA also increases lean body mass and enhances physical performances. It has been suggested that these effects may be due in part to physiological changes in the skeletal muscle, such as changes in the muscle fiber type transformation, alteration of the intracellular signaling pathways in muscle metabolism, or energy metabolism. However, the mode of action for CLA in muscle metabolism is not completely understood. The purpose of this review is to summarize the current knowledge of the effects of CLA on skeletal muscle metabolism. Given that CLA not only reduces body fat, but also improves lean mass, there is great potential for the use of CLA to improve muscle metabolism, which would have a significant health impact.
Keywords: CLA; Conjugated linoleic acid; Lean body mass; Obesity; Physical activity; Skeletal muscle metabolism.