CLA which stands for Conjugated Linoleic Acid is a slightly altered form of linoleic acid (LA), an omega-6 fatty acid important to human health, found mostly in animal food sources. It is important to know more about it since a recent study in the US said that CLA deficiency could be one of many reasons for obesity in Americans.
The Role of CLA
Research has found that CLA supplements are responsible for fortifying the immune system, protect against cancer and heart disease and it may help build muscle and promote fat loss. It has been discovered recently to help promote healthy glucose levels and insulin metabolism. CLA regulates lipid levels and protects us from free radicals (antioxidant).
Sources of CLA
Natural food sources rich in CLA include:
- Beef –up to 0.9g/100g
- Milk and dairy products 0.7% of all milk fat
Grass fed animal products can contain up to 5 times more CLA than non grass fed ones.
Role of CLA in Fitness and Bodybuilding
According to a study approximately 3.4 grams of CLA per day shows extremely beneficial effects of CLA on body fat. Dr. Michael Pariza, who conducted research on CLA with the University of Wisconsin-Madison, concluded that it stops small fat cells from growing and helps keep fat tissue at bay.
There are studies that confirm implication of CLA for training. The combination of CLA and weight training can be very beneficial for everyone. A trial conducted on novices proved that ingesting 7g of CLA daily, improved strength and muscle mass compared to the group taking placebo.
Assumptions were made that CLA improves anabolic processes but it has to be investigated further.
Another study has shown that CLA supplementation reduced body fat by as much as 9% and simultaneously increase lean muscle mass by around 2%.
Having reviewed the properties of CLA and the positive research outcomes it is reasonable to assume that CLA supplementation can be of use to most of us. Whether you are looking to keep fit, build muscles or lose fat, CLA is the ‘go to’ supplement. Eating a balanced diet with plenty of variety will guarantee you are getting essential nutrients and you may also want to consider taking CLA in the form of a supplement. 4 grams and above is the recommended dose per day. Most supplements com in the form of capsules that already contain some oil to help your body absorb the CLA. Most users confirm that CLA combined with a healthy lifestyle does give good results and most reviews sit at 9.5 out of 10 stars.
*WARNING: CLA is water soluble so it should be taken with foods that contain fat.