Conjugated Linoleic Acid

(Known as CLA, Conjugated Linoleic Acid)

tickAids health
tickHormone control
tickAids definition & fat loss
tickControls appetite
tickEssential Fatty Acid
How does it work?
Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is a naturally occurring fatty acid. Found in many dairy products and in beef, it has been studied extensively since it was discovered more than a decade ago. Human studies show that CLA is highly effective at promoting fat loss while preserving lean muscle mass [5]. In animals CLA has been shown to combat several types of cancer, atherosclerosis and diabetes, and also to enhance immune function.
Who is it used for?
CLA is suitable for anyone wanting to lose weight while preserving lean muscle mass. Some research shows CLA to be effective at helping with the maintenance of weight loss, making it suitable for anyone who has recently lost weight and wants to prevent the lost weight from returning.
How does it work?
Your body contains millions of tiny fat cells. To lose weight, you have to literally drain the fat out of the cell and burn it for energy. Unfortunately, every fat cell in your body is literally programmed to store fat. And the less fat you have, the harder your body will fight to hold on to every last pound.

According to Dr. Michael Pariza, a CLA expert based at the University of Wisconsin, "every fat cell in the body wants to get big. What the CLA does is force that fat cell to stay little by affecting a number of enzymes that are ordinarily responsible for filling it with lipids." In other words, CLA literally diverts the calories you eat AWAY from fat and into muscle tissue [4].

For instance, scientists from Sweden took a group of 60 overweight subjects, and gave them different doses of CLA for 12 weeks [1]. The amounts varied from 1.7 to 6.8 grams daily. Subjects took 3 capsules with breakfast, lunch and dinner. The results showed that CLA (in a daily dosage of at least 3.4 grams per day) increased fat loss. Those who didn't use CLA gained weight. More interesting still, CLA users gained muscle - despite the fact they followed only a very "light" training programme.

A similar trial also shows that CLA is an effective aid to weight loss. Eighty overweight people took part in a six-month U.S. study, conducted at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. The participants dieted and exercised and, as expected, most initially lost weight, according to Michael Pariza, Ph.D., director of the university's Food Research Institute, and one of the lead researchers for the study. But, as often happens, many regained some of the weight lost when they stopped their diets, he said.

The people who did not take CLA put pounds back on at a ratio of 75 percent fat to 25 percent lean, which is typical for most people, points out Pariza. For the people taking CLA, less fat was regained and more muscle mass was retained. "The ratio was more like 50:50 - 50 percent fat and 50 percent muscle," according to Pariza. "That is very significant. It leads to the idea that CLA could be useful in weight management," he said. "Our results also showed that CLA made it easier for people to stay on their diets." Previous trials show that CLA also has positive effects on muscle growth.

Scientists at Kent State University found that CLA users experienced a nine-fold greater increase in arm size compared to subjects using a placebo supplement. Researchers at the University of Memphis showed that CLA led to 223% greater strength gains after just 28 days of training.

A study carried in the May 1998 edition of the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise reports that after six weeks of CLA supplementation, a group of novice bodybuilders were 202% stronger than controls [3].

High-quality CLA is usually found in dark (such as amber or brown) soft gel capsules. The bottle CLA is stored in should not be clear. The use of a bottle that blocks light ensures that the potential for the degradation and oxidation of CLA is reduced. Beware of extremely cheap sources of CLA that don't list the amounts of CLA contained in each capsule. Tests show they often contain little of the active ingredient.

How do I use it?
The research to date shows that 2.5-5 grams (2,500-5,000 milligrams) of CLA daily delivers optimum results. CLA is not a stimulant, and most experts consider it to be safe to use for extended periods of time. CLA is usually taken with meals, in divided doses of 800-1500 milligrams.
What results can I expect?
Combined with a good diet and an effective exercise programme, CLA will help you lose 1-2 pounds of fat each week. Beacuse of its effect on muscle growth, most CLA users gain muscle strength and size at the same time. CLA will also help you keep the weight off by diverting calories in the food you eat away from fat storage and towards muscle tissue.
What can it be combined with?
Some preliminary research shows that CLA works well with Caffeine at promoting fat loss and muscle growth, though the data have yet to be published. Some experts also believe that CLA has a synergistic effect with Green tea extract. This means that the two supplements combined will produce greater results than either one taken alone.

1. Blankson, H., Stakkestad, J.A., Fagertun, H., Thom, E., Wadstein, J., & Gudmundsen, O. (2000). Conjugated linoleic acid reduces body fat mass in overweight and obese humans. Journal of Nutrition, 130, 2943-2948
2. Belury, M.A., Mahon, A., & Banni, S. (2003). The conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) isomer,t10c12-CLA, is inversely associated with changes in body weight and serum leptin in subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Journal of Nutrition, 133, 257S-260S
3. Lowery, L.M., Appicelli, P.A., & Lemon, P.W.R. (1998). Conjugated linoleic acid enhances muscle size and strength gains in novice bodybuilders. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 30, S182
4. DeLany, J.P., Blohm, F., Truett, A.A., Scimeca, J.A., & West, D.B. (1999). Conjugated linoleic acid rapidly reduces body fat content in mice without affecting energy intake. American Journal of Physiology, 276, R1172-R1179
5. Smedman, A., & Vessby, B. (2001). Conjugated linoleic acid supplementation in humans--metabolic effects. Lipids, 36, 773-778

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