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Unique Fatty Acid for Reducing Bodyfat

So here we have CNA and butyric acid; both are types of fats. Yet both have potential for helping along bodyfat loss and perhaps enhancing metabolic rate.

Conjugated nonadecadienoic acid is a 19-carbon free fatty acid with a pair of conjugated double bonds. Well, that’s what the textbooks say. I can barely pronounce it. But this fatty acid adds evidence to the notion that not all fats are created equal.

Interestingly, CNA’s effects are similar to those of a fat we all know and love, conjugated linoleic acid. When fed to growing mice (0.3 percent of diet), CNA reduced bodyfat by 81 percent—whereas CLA reduced bodyfat by 25 percent. On the chemical level, CLA and CNA differ in length by one carbon atom.1

In another study using mice, scientists compared the effects of dietary CLA and CNA on bodyfat and also compared the mechanism of bodyfat control. The effects of 0.1 percent dietary CNA on bodyfat reduction were comparable to those of 0.5 percent dietary CLA. CNA’s mechanisms of bodyfat control were similar to those of CLA: increased energy expenditure and increased fatty acid beta-oxidation.

Dietary CNA, but not CLA, also improved expression of hormone-sensitive lipase from white adipose tissue, and that may help explain how CNA has a greater effect on bodyfat control than CLA. Unlike CLA, CNA improved glucose tolerance. All in all, it’s a more attractive fatty acid. CNA has the potential to be used to fight obesity with fewer adverse effects than CLA.2

Another interesting fat, butyric acid, a short-chain fatty acid formed by fermentation in the large intestine, was studied in mice as well. I know: They’re mice. But researchers have found some interesting mechanisms regarding these amazing fatty acids. Sodium butyrate was administrated through diet supplementation at 5 percent in the high-fat diet of obese mice. Insulin sensitivity and energy metabolism were monitored. Butyrate prevented development of insulin resistance in the chubby little rodents. Fasting blood glucose, fasting insulin and insulin tolerance were all preserved in the treated mice. Also, bodyfat was maintained at 10 percent without a reduction in food intake. Adaptive thermogenesis and fatty acid oxidation were further enhanced. So in a nutshell, supplemental butyrate led to an increase in insulin sensitivity and a reduction in bodyfat.3

So here we have CNA and butyric acid; both are types of fats. Yet both have potential for helping along bodyfat loss and perhaps enhancing metabolic rate. CNA may actually have advantages over CLA, including the fact that it reduces lipoprotein lipase activity and reduces fat better than CLA. Also, it may be helpful in treating a whole host of inflammatory diseases. CNA has been shown to inhibit platelet aggregation (aspirin does the same thing) and thus could be an agent that reduces the risk of heart attacks. Of course, for those who care little about health and just want to look good, the fact that these two fatty acids might reduce bodyfat is reason enough to try them.

Editor’s note: Jose Antonio, Ph.D., is the CEO of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (; also check out his site


1 Park, Y., and Pariza, M.W. (2001). The effects of dietary conjugated nonadecadienoic acid on body composition in mice. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1533:171-4.

2 Park, Y., et al. (2009). Conjugated nonadecadienoic acid is more potent than conjugated linoleic acid on body fat reduction. J Nutr Biochem. In press.

3 Gao, Z., et al. (2009). Butyrate improves insulin sensitivity and increases energy expenditure in mice. Diabetes. 58:1509-17.

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