Conjugated linoleic acid (or CLA) is a fatty acid, naturally found in meat, milk and dairy products. The polyunsaturated fat in CLA is classified as an Omega-6 fatty acid, one of the so-called “good fats” recommended for health.
Most of us don’t get much CLA through our regular dietary intake, since this acid only occurs in foods derived from cud-chewing animals such as goats, cows and sheep.
As CLA has been proven to have numerous health benefits, this leads many people to seek out CLA supplements.
CLA is most sought-after as a weight loss supplement and fat burner. Studies have shown CLA supplements to be effective in reducing overall body fat, and also in inhibiting regaining excess weight and fat even after ceasing use of the supplements.
CLA improves the body’s fat burning capabilities, and increases the metabolism or BMR (basal metabolic rate).
CLA Supplements For Weight Loss
CLA has also been proven as an effective weight loss drug for people suffering from thyroid conditions, who tend to have extreme difficulties in losing weight.
CLA supplements help both thyroid sufferers and others correct certain hormonal imbalances that add up to increased belly fat and weight gain.
When consumed in a supplement, this acid also improves insulin levels, decreasing the dangerous insulin resistance that can lead to diabetes.
Diabetes and insulin resistance are both related to excess weight, so losing weight with CLA actually provides double benefits to people at risk of those conditions.
CLA supplements are not just important for people who are overweight. Bodybuilders and athletes also use CLA, since it can improve fitness results.
The process of lifting weights is actually degenerative to the muscles, and causes the body to require additional nutrients to maintain muscle mass.
Especially in the first hours following a strenuous workout, fibers in the muscles break down and the body will actually feed on its own muscle if it’s not provided with carbohydrates and protein sources. CLA helps to avoid this breakdown by preserving the body’s muscle mass.
The increased metabolism made possible with CLA supplements also promotes an increase in energy and greater muscle gains.
In addition to its two most common uses, CLA is also used to reduce allergic reactions in food-based allergies. These reactions can actually inhibit weight loss, making it seem like the dieter has simply reached a weight loss plateau.
Using CLA supplements can help to decrease the effects of those reactions, allowing the user to continue losing weight. CLA contains antioxidants, which are known to protect the body from harmful diseases such as cancer.
CLA has also been shown to improve immune system function, which stave’s off illness and provides benefits for a multitude of autoimmune disorders while promoting overall health.
Supplements are most commonly available in capsule and liquid form. The liquid form of CLA can be somewhat difficult to digest, so many sources recommend taking it with a high-protein accompaniment such as milk.
Like all supplements, CLA also has some potential side effects that may counter its myriad benefits. For best results, consult your doctor before taking CLA supplements.