Conjugated linoleic acid, also known as CLA, is used by a lot of fitness enthusiasts and bodybuilders and anyone trying to lose weight and get a flat stomach. Gym goers swear by it for fat loss, enhanced exercise performance and mass gains. Some of these claims are proven by science. A quality CLA supplement can make weight loss easier and help you get the most out of your workout.
It's no secret that trans fats affect health and well-being. These compounds alter your blood lipids, leading to a higher risk of heart disease. The American Heart Association states that trans fatty acids may contribute to diabetes, stroke and elevated cholesterol levels.
There's one exception, though. Conjugated linoleic acid, a trans fatty acid that occurs naturally in meat and dairy, can actually improve your health. This natural compound is marketed as a weight loss aid and performance enhancer.
The role of CLA in bodybuilding and exercise is subject to debate. According to a 2015 research paper published in Nutrition & Metabolism, CLA pills may help reduce body fat and temporarily boost testosterone levels when used as part of a resistance training program. Some studies point out that CLA may improve body composition and reduce muscle loss, while others show little or no effects.
CLA and Weight Loss
Conjugated linoleic acid is heavily promoted as a fat burning agent. Most studies, though, have been performed with animals. Researchers suggest that CLA may aid in weight loss by inhibiting fat production, increasing fat burning and suppressing appetite.
This fatty acid has been shown to increase energy expenditure, fat oxidation and subcutaneous white fat in obese mice to a greater extent than caloric restriction. The downside is that it worsened hepatic steatosis (a buildup of fat in the liver) and had no effect on insulin response and glucose metabolism; caloric restriction, on the other hand, improved these markers.
Scientists point out that CLA supplements work best when combined with regular exercise. They not only curb hunger but also increase protein synthesis and help reduce fat mass and body weight.
Your body cannot produce this nutrient on its own, so you must obtain it from food or supplements. Research has shown that there is no standard dosage for CLA. In general, those who wish to lose weight should take anywhere from one gram to 3.4 grams per day. 3.4 Grams per day is what seems to work best for me.