Conjugated linoleic acid or CLA has numerous benefits on health and fitness. CLA is particularly useful in fat loss and body building. CLA is a natural free fatty acid belonging to a class known as trans fatty acids. CLA is derived from the essential fatty acid known as omega-6, naturally occuring in all pasture fed animals. You already know the benefits of protein and likely take your protein shakes to supplement your diet. But then you overhear a conversation in the gym locker room about healthy fats and CLA. You wonder to yourself is CLA something I should be taking and how can CLA benefit me?
What are the benefits of CLA fats?
There are many health benefits of CLA. Studies have shown CLA even has cancer-protecting properties in animal models. I know you are not a mouse or a rat, but we are all of course mammals and made up of similar biological function and chemistry, so who is to say CLA wont have the same effect for us. As exciting as that is, I can not suggest that you take CLA for the above reason until it is proven in humans. However, if fat loss is your goal then CLA could be the supplement missing in your armory on the war against fat! It may sound odd I know…supplement with fat (CLA) to lose fat. Reading this now I am sure the logical part of your brain is screaming at you, “NO IT CAN NOT BE, FAT IS BAD”..well tell that part of your brain to be quiet for a minute and to relax. The science is in and it turns out supplementing with CLA can in fact have a positive impact on weight management.
The Benefits of CLA for weight management
Research compellingly indicates that CLA benefits weight management. Each study thus far has been very different and used a varied dose and/or duration throughout the test. Overall, research supports the idea that CLA is effective for weight management, maintaining body composition and the ratio of fat to lean muscle mass. Through supplementation of CLA across each of the studies, candidates were able to reduce total body fat and increase lean body mass. As anyone who goes to the gym will know, this is the holy grail of training. The ability to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time! I bet you have heard countless times and read on forums that this is simply not possible. But move over broscience, the results are in and it certainly could be possible with CLA supplementation. The results speak for themselves.
One important fact to remember is that this is not just in the short term. You may think that once your body gets used to CLA or reaches a certain level of supplementation that the results will change. However this is not the case. In a study of humans over 1 yr to determine the effect of CLA on body composition in healthy overweight adults, the end result was that long-term supplementation with CLA reduces body fat mass!