CLA and Weight Loss – Does it Work for Burning Fat?

CLA has been gaining a lot of popularity even though it has been around for a long time. Many people have recently been claiming to have achieved a major decrease in body fat by including CLA in their weight loss regime.

With many supplements available on the market for weight loss, it can become overwhelming.

Therefore, here is a quick review on whether CLA helps burn fat.

What is CLA

CLA – Conjugated Linoleic Acid is a type of polyunsaturated fat naturally found in fatty meat, beef and butter. It is composed of omega-6 essentials fatty acids found in the guts of pastured ruminants, like sheep.(9)

Conjugated Linoleic Acid can’t be produced by the human body, therefore, it would have to be consumed from diet or supplements.

Although Conjugated Linoleic Acid is not essential for the body, it is considered to be one of the recent discoveries of a “good fat” to consider including in your diet.

Amongst its many benefits, Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) is known for assisting in weight loss by reducing the body fat.

What Does Conjugated Linolic Acid Really Do?

In increasing the basal metabolic rates of the body by efficiently converting the food into energy, Conjugated Linolic Acid (CLA) decreases the body fat and helps with weight loss. (10)

In addition to assisting with weight loss, Conjugated Linolic Acid (CLA) can positively impact certain diseases.

The Side Effects of CLA

Conjugated Linolic Acid (CLA) is most likely considered safe if it is taken orally in amounts that are either recommended medicinally or found in foods. In smaller amounts, there is a possibility that it may cause certain minor side effects like nausea, fatigue, diarrhea and an upset stomach. (1)

A few studies observed that conjugated linoleic acid supplements can reduce body fat, but it was also showing that CLA may also induce hepatic steatosis.

The studies suggested that CLA could be triggering liver steatosis  by stimulating lipogenesis and the uptake of fatty acid.(2, 3)

CLA should be used with special caution for the following individuals (1):

  • Children,
  • Pregnant,
  • Breastfeeding,
  • Diabetic,
  • With Bleeding Disorders,
  • Before/After Surgery,
  • Suffering from Metabolic Syndrome

The Health Benefits of CLA

Even though there are a few studies indicating possible side effects, there are many more studies supporting its benefits in reducing cholesterol levels, and in decreasing body fat. CLA has also been found to have some beneficial effects as well.(7, 8)

There is research showing that Conjugated Linolic Acid has also been found to be helpful in improving the immune system, in preventing heart diseases, and in defending against cancers. (4)

Other than reducing body fat, Conjugated Linolic Acid is also known for having anti-cancerous benefits. CLA can help in slowing down the growth of tumors and assist with blocking the three stages of cancer known as initiation, promotion, and metastasis. (9)

Even though a few small studies suggested that Conjugated Linolic Acid can trigger Fatty Liver, there are more recent findings suggesting the opposite.

A study on rats displayed that Conjugated Linolic Acid prevented steatosis when combined with a high-fructose diet. (6)

CLA Benefits Include (5,1):

  • Body Fat Reduction
  • Improved Immune System
  • Cancer Fighting
  • Prevents Heart Diseases
  • Aids in Weight Loss
  • Aids in Reversing Atherosclerosis which is hardening of the arteries
  • Improves Digestion
  • limiting food allergy reactions

How to use CLA for Weight Loss

Conjugated Linolic Acid can be used as a weight loss supplement either from foods or in soft gel capsules. Keep in mind that all CLA capsules come in different concentrations. Although there is no dose established for weight loss, 80% concentration is usually used for maximum results. (4)

Bottom Line – Does CLA Work?

Despite the scary possibility of triggering a fatty liver, many studies have supported the benefits of Conjugated Linolic Acid.

It seems to be that you can lose “fat” with “fat”!

CLA seems to be an effective supplement to reduce body fat, however, it seems to be safer to consume from natural sources like:

  • butter (preferably organic from grass fed cows)
  • Grass Fed Beef/Lamb/Turkey/Veal
  • Seafood
  • Dairy Products

With all the contradicting data, the most recent studies support the benefits of Conjugated Linolic Acid. Therefore, it is truly a personal choice on whether you would like to incorporate Conjugated Linolic Acid with weight loss program based on recent data.

To be safe

It would be a good idea to follow up with your family doctor and regular blood tests to monitor cholesterol levels and liver.

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