Effects of dietary supplementation with conjugated linoleic acid on experimental human rhinovirus infection and illness.Antivir Ther 2009; 14(1):33-43AT
Because studies suggest that the dietary supplement conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) has immunomodulatory activities that might benefit common colds, we performed two studies of CLA effects in experimental human rhinovirus (HRV) infection.
The first study explored whether CLA supplementation (Safflorin; Loders Croklaan, BV, Wormerveer, the Netherlands) altered the virological or clinical course of experimental HRV infection, and the second explored whether CLA affected the frequency and severity of HRV cold-associated sore throat and cough. The trials were randomized, double-blinded and placebo-controlled. In total, 50 healthy volunteers aged 18-45 years and susceptible to HRV type-39 (serum neutralizing antibody titre < or = 1:2) participated in study 1 and 80 similar volunteers susceptible to Hank's HRV participated in study 2. Participants ingested CLA 2 g/day or placebo for 4 weeks before and 4 days following intranasal HRV inoculation. The primary endpoint for study 1 was the frequency of colds and for study 2 was the symptom severity scores for sore throat and cough.
In study 1, 10/24 (42%) placebo compared with 7/21 (33%) CLA participants developed colds (P = 0.53). CLA was associated with significant reductions in mean scores for cough (0 CLA versus 0.9 placebo) and sore throat (0.8 CLA versus 2.9 placebo). In study 2, clinical colds developed in 19/33 (58%) placebo and 27/43 (63%) CLA participants. Symptom scores for cough (0.9 CLA versus 1.0 placebo) and sore throat (2.6 CLA versus 3.2 placebo) were not significantly different. Similarly no differences in nasal viral titres or serological responses were found.
CLA dietary supplementation had no consistent effects on the virological or clinical course of experimental HRV colds. A larger study would be required to detect more subtle effects of CLA on HRV cold-associated symptoms.