CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid)
CLA is widely known as popular and effective weight loss supplement, but it actually has other lesser known but very important health benefits as well. It has anti-cancer properties, boosts immunity, and may benefit people with heart disease, diabetes and even allergies. Read on to find out how you can use CLA to lose weight as well as benefit your health in other ways.
When used with diet and exercise, CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) not only reduces body fat an increases metabolism, but also increases muscle strength and exercise endurance.
Now science has stepped in to explore CLA’s too-good-to-be-true health claims — and CLA has stood up to the skeptics.
CLA is related to the omega-6 fatty acids, one of the two types of essential fatty acids that help the body increase metabolic rates, boost the immune system and keep cholesterol levels in check.
CLA reduces body fat by increasing basal metabolic rates. In other words, it helps the body convert food more efficiently into energy. People commonly combined CLA with green tea extract for a really powerful synergestic weight loss combination; this duo of supplements when used together apparently produces very effective results. I have not personally used this combination, so I can’t speak from personal experience on this one, but I know of several people who claim this has worked wonders for them.
CLA doesn’t decrease overall body weight; rather, “it keeps a little fat cell from getting bigger.” This can alter the body’s fat-to-muscle ratio.
A Norwegian study published in The Journal of Nutrition in 2000 found that CLA reduced body fat and preserved muscle tissue in overweight or obese people who did not change their diet. According to the research project manager, individuals in the CLA group lost six more pounds of body fat, on average, compared to those in the placebo group.
In another study, those who stopped dieting and did not take CLA eventually put weight back on in a typical manner – about 75 percent fat to 25 percent muscle. Participants who stopped dieting, but kept taking CLA, also gained weight, but at a 50-50 fat-to-muscle ratio.
Other Health Benefits of CLA
Anti-cancer, increased immunity, and a decrease in cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and even allergies.
CLA’s purported benefits extend well beyond a more slender waist. Further studies suggest that in addition to increasing muscle strength and exercise endurance, CLA can have an impact on specific diseases and ailments.
Dr. Delbert Dorscheid, a cancer and asthma researcher on the faculty in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the University of Chicago, reviewed more than 200 published research and clinical studies worldwide on CLA’s health benefits.
Among the findings was that women with increased levels of CLA in their body tissue have lower breast-cancer rates. Similar findings have been reported for colon and prostate cancer. And the health benefits don’t stop there: CLA has been linked to improved immune system function, as well as a decrease in cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and even allergies.
Pariza is careful to point out that CLA research is still in its infant stage. “Some of these findings are better documented than others,” he says. “CLA has a potent inhibitory effect on body-fat accumulation, but its effects on muscle are not conclusive. In animal models CLA reduces some but not all forms of cancer; dietary CLA is particularly effective in inhibiting breast cancer in rodents. However, some things, such as how it affects diabetes, have not been proven.”
Recommended CLA Dosage
Most of the studies conclude that a person needs to take 3.4 grams of CLA (3,400 mg) daily with meals to receive its benefits. (The amounts used in many of the studies were two to three times higher, but the treatment period was only 12 weeks.)
Since the various formulas contain a percentage of other oils as ingredients, you need to calculate how much each supplement is delivering to make sure you’re getting your full 3.4 grams. If a capsule contains 75 percent CLA, and it’s 1,000 mg, you are receiving 750 mg of CLA, and you need five per day to reach the recommended 3.4 grams. The most common type of CLA used in research is a patented formulation called Tonalin. Tonalin can be found in a number of brands, such as Natrol, Jarrow Formulas and Nature’s Way.
Many people have found it best to take CLA supplements before or with meals. Side effects are rare but may include nausea or upset stomach. These can be reduced, though, when the supplements are taken with protein, such as low-fat milk. People who report side effects say they usually subside after about two weeks. To date, there appear to be no health risks or serious side affects associated with CLA supplementation.