Studies have reported the potential benefits of consuming conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and ruminant trans fatty acids (R-TFAs) in reducing the risk factors of metabolic syndrome (MetS). In addition, encapsulation of CLA and R-TFAs may improve their oral delivery and further decrease the risk factors of MetS. The objectives of this review were (1) to discuss the advantages of encapsulation; (2) to compare the materials and techniques used for encapsulating CLA and R-TFAs; and (3) to review the effects of encapsulated vs non-encapsulated CLA and R-TFAs on MetS risk factors. Examination of papers citing micro- and nano-encapsulation methods used in food sciences, as well as the effects of encapsulated vs non-encapsulated CLA and R-TFAs, was conducted using the PubMed database. A total of 84 papers were examined; of these, 18 studies were selected that contained information on the effects of encapsulated CLA and R-TFAs. The 18 studies that described encapsulation of CLA or R-TFAs indicated that micro- or nano-encapsulation processes stabilized CLA and prevented oxidation. CLA was mainly encapsulated using carbohydrates or proteins. So far, oil-in-water emulsification followed by spray-drying were the frequently used techniques for encapsulation of CLA. Further, 4 studies investigated the effects of encapsulated CLA on MetS risk factors compared with non-encapsulated CLA. A limited number of studies investigated the encapsulation of R-TFAs. The effects of encapsulated CLA or R-TFAs on the risk factors for MetS remain understudied; thus, additional studies comparing the effects of encapsulated and non-encapsulated CLA or R-TFAs are needed.

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