Can Conjugated Linoleic Acid - CLA Help You Lose Weight?

Help Your Health by Learning About Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)

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Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) arrived on the health and nutrition scene more than a decade ago.  Like many newcomers, CLA was, and sometimes still is, advertised as the must-have supplement to melt away fat, especially for stubborn pounds gained because of thyroid disorder.

But is CLA an effective fat-fighter?  Some scientists have looked at the available research, and found that there may be more validity to evidence that CLA may ihelp the body to deposit less fat and build more muscle.

We reported on CLA here at the Thyroid site earlier, when some patients -- myself included -- found that CLA could be of help in reducing fat pockets -- particularly abdominal fat.

For some of the coverage, read:

In my own case, I found that CLA worked very well for the first two months in terms of spot reducing some areas of fat -- in particular, my abdomen and face. But after a few months, its effects seemed to stall out on me, and other patients have reported a similar slow-down. Some folks had continued success, and a small but definite percentage of people felt that the CLA had the opposite effect on them, and was actually making them feel more bloated and possibly causing gain weight.

What Can CLA Do For You?

When introduced, the popularity of CLA got a boost from people who took CLA and saw some improvement.

  As I said, the problem is that other people took CLA and did not get the same result.  A more recent study looked at the effect of CLA on body composition and had this to say about CLA:

"The evidence...does not convincingly show that CLA intake generates any clinically relevant effects on body composition on the long term.


Despite these findings, there are good reasons to consider making sure your diet includes natural, or healthy supplement, forms of CLA.  CLA is actually a trans fat.  But unlike trans fats prohibited by the FDA, CLA is a "ruminant" trans fat -- meaning it is naturally found in animals, and is not an industrial product.  As a ruminant trans fat, CLA may have a protective quality against colorectal, prostate, and breast cancers.

In addition, CLA is being studied for beneficial effects on bone mass and for its apparent ability to assist with insulin regulation.  As a team player in the use of insulin by the body, CLA could aid in reducing incidence of type 2 diabetes.

Over the years, weight loss claims for CLA have mellowed.  More recent research points to CLA, obtained through a healthy diet, could have strong benefits for cancer and diabetes prevention as well as reducing effects of metabolic disorders.

About Supplements

Supplements offer an easy and direct way to ensure you are taking the vitamins and nutrients you want.  Supplements can help you boost your health, but be sure to keep these points in mind:

  • The supplement industry is not regulated.  Many people believe packaged supplements are manufactured to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards.  They are not.  Because supplements are not regulated, you cannot be sure what you are taking, if you are taking the amount of active ingredient claimed on the label, or even whether there are not other contaminants in the product.
  • Nutrients ingested in natural form are more bio-available than when taken in pill form.  This holds true for CLA.  In supplement form, CLA is produced using vegetable oils -- which could have negative health impacts with long-term use.  Naturally, CLA has higher bio-availability in meats from ruminant animals, especially grass-fed (not corn fed) beef.

CLA is a naturally occurring fatty acid found in animal products from goats and sheep, dairy products, poultry, eggs and vegetable oils. The human intestine produces CLA naturally from linoleic acid.

Can CLA melt away pounds right where you want to lose them?

  No.  But if you are interested in health built on a sound nutritional base, CLA deserves a second look.

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