Linoleic acid produces a family of fatty acids that are called Omega-6 fatty acids. Linoleic acid produces arachidonic fatty acid that is essential for various hormones. These hormones are used for the regulation of many physiological processes.
Basically, linoleic acid is a liquid unsaturated fatty acid with chemical formula C18H32O2. It is naturally present in semi-drying oils such as corn oil, and it is essential for the nutrition of humans and some animals.
The Conjugated Linoleic acid (CLA) is a term that is used for the geometrical and positional isomers of linoleic acid. The arrangement of the double bond in the fatty acid molecule is mentioned with the “conjugated” prefix. This is found in animal fat such as beef and dairy food. CLA has been used to lower body fat, and it can be taken as an oil or pill.
It is a usual consideration that fat is not suitable for health, but all fats are not created equal. Many fats are consumed to get energy, while some have potent health benefits. CLA is also one of the beneficial fats that are popular as a weight loss supplement. CLA is available in 28 different forms depending upon the arrangement of double bonds.
CLA is a natural trans-fat
Technically, CLA is trans-fat, but it is the natural form of trans fats. Industrial trans-fat is harmful to health when consumed in high quantities. While CLA is an Omega-6 fatty acid that is different from industrial trans-fat, it is also not harmful to your health. CLA is effective in reducing fat, increases energy and endurance, and it also helps to build muscles.
What does CLA do?
Almost 30% of adult people in the world are suffering from obesity, and those who are trying to lose weight are generally advised to eat less and move more. But, it is also a fact that this is ineffective advice on its own. People usually get failed in achieving their goal of losing weight.
There are many kinds of supplements available to make this dream of losing weight come true. CLA is also one of those supplements that are used to lose weight.
CLA is a supplement that is used to “LOSE FAT WITH FAT.” Maybe it sounds like another dubious infomercial promise, but in actuality, this weight-loss trend has real substance. CLA can reduce body weight, and it also increases exercise endurance and muscle strength. Science is exploring CLA’s too-good-to-be-true health claims, and CLA has stood up to the skeptics.
“CLA can reduce body fat and preserve the muscle tissues in obese or overweight people. CLA shows these results without making any change in the regular diet of a person.”
CLA supplement ingredients:
Linoleic acid is a natural type of trans fat that is a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid present naturally in some foods. Consumption of natural trans fats has been part of the human diet ever since people began consuming the food products of ruminant animals. Today use of artificially produced trans fats is also every day, but it is harmful to health.
Humans consume three types of fats in their diet:
Excess use of saturated fats that mainly come from animal-sourced food products becomes numerous health issues. However, the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that come from vegetable sources are regarded as healthy fats. Even vegetable oils also contain high amounts of linoleic acids.
Linoleic acid is formed during the process of producing natural ruminant trans-fats. These ruminant trans-fats are formed when the good bacteria in the animal’s stomach digest grass. These natural trans-fats mainly make up about five percent of the total fat in dairy products and roughly six percent of the total fat in ruminant meat products.
In most CLA supplements, Gelatin and vegetable glycerin are added as ingredients for stabilization and carrier agents. A CLA supplement contains around 75% CLA as the main ingredient for maximum benefits.
How CLA reduces obesity?
CLA increases basal metabolic rates to reduce body fat. In other words, CLA supports the body to convert food into energy more efficiently. CLA keeps a little fat cell from getting bigger, and it doesn’t decrease overall body weight. CLA can alter the body’s fat-to-muscle ratio.
It is also observed in various studies that those who stop taking CLA eventually put weight back on in a typical manner:
- If a person stops dieting and doesn’t take CLA also, their fat-to-muscle ratio increases about 75 percent fat to 25 percent muscle.
- A person who stops dieting, but keep taking CLA, also gains weight, but at a 50-50 fat-to-muscle ratio.
Health benefits of CLA:
A plethora of weight loss supplements contains Conjugated Linoleic Acid used on its own or co-formulation with guarana or caffeine. However, it is mainly used for weight loss, but it has potential health benefits too. Various studies show that people who eat more CLA show a lower risk of many diseases and improved metabolic health. CLA is possibly effective for:
“CLA is not a kind of miracle pill, but it can bring you closer to the weight loss and fitness goals.”
According to a few studies, a combination of Omega-3 and CLA can help increase the mitochondrial efficiency of the muscle cells. This mitochondrial efficiency increases the amount of energy production from fat and glucose in muscles.
CLA may contribute to improving your heart health in many ways:
According to a high study, intake of CLA (cis-9, trans-11 & cis-12, trans-10) increases the level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol in healthy women. This HDL helps in lowering cholesterol levels and improves heart functioning.
In a study, it is observed that CLA combined with ramipril reduces blood pressure in hypersensitive and obese people better than ramipril alone.
Reduce Cancer Risk:
In recent studies, it is observed that CLA’s antioxidant properties have shown promising results in fighting different forms of cancer. It includes breast cancer in women, lung and prostate cancers. According to the observations of results, it is suggested that it blocks three stages of cancer development, including initiation, promotion, and progression.
CLA has also shown positive results in reducing the risk of contracting colds and flu. Increased intake of CLA improves immune functioning by reducing prostaglandins and leukotrienes. These are responsible for suppressing the immune system.
CLA triggers a protective mechanism that stops the release of IgE antibodies to benefit the immunity of people suffering from allergies. This type of immunoglobulin is mainly associated with allergies.
Improved Athletic Performance:
CLA supplementation stimulates the production of testosterone in the Leydig cells of the testicles. Conjugated Linoleic Acid can combine with a low-calorie and high protein diet that leads to a faster reduction of body fat levels.
As a part of an exercise program balanced diet and exercise program, a quality CLA supplement supports athletes to maintain their weight, burn more calories, with having great energy. CLA not only contributes to fat loss but also enhances physical performance, muscle metabolism and suppresses protein breakdown to improve muscle quality and strength.
Manages Blood Sugar level:
Various studies suggest that using a fat burner CLA supplement in your regular diet results in lower blood sugar and body. The consumption of fat burner CLA also leads to lower levels of a hormone called Leptin that contributes to fat levels in the body. Simultaneously, the high level of Leptin in the body promotes obesity that is one of the leading factors that cause diabetes.
Is it safe to use CLA pills?
Most of the time, it is safe to use CLA pills if you are in good health and stay active. Any side effects have been reported in only those who use CLA with existing conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, or metabolic syndrome.
The recommended dosage of CLA:
The human body is not able to produce this nutrient on its own. So it is quite essential to intake CLA, whether from natural dietary sources or supplements. According to different studies, it is observed that 3.4 to 6.2 grams of CLA are a sufficient dose to intake per day:
- For weight loss, at least 3g of CLA per day is necessary to intake.
- It is safe to take 6 grams of CLA per day with no serious adverse side effects.
- It is allowed by the FDA also the use of CLA in foods till 6g and given it GRAS (generally regarded as safe) status.
Side effects of CLA:
As mentioned above, that generally, CLA shows no side effects. Still, when it is used within the therapeutic doses, it may cause some insignificant or rare side effects. These side effects do not warrant discontinuation.
Most of these effects are related to the gastrointestinal system, such as vomiting, diarrhea, loose stools, and nausea. Some of the other mild side effects of CLA are:
- Acid indigestion
These side effects are temporary and usually appear in the first two weeks of start taking the supplementation but disappear gradually with continued use.
In case if someone ends up taking more CLA supplements than recommended for a time, some moderately severe side effects may arise. These side effects may include:
- Limb swelling
- Unexplained rash
- Difficulty in breathing
Taking a high dose of CLA may provoke some very severe side effects. These side effects may need immediate discontinuation of CLA supplements and proper medical attention. The side effects may include the following:
- CLA may become pro-inflammatory because of the presence of C-reactive protein in people.
- In some people, hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) has been reported. It is because of the insulin-resistant properties of CLA.
- When CLA is taken in larger doses, it may reduce the amount of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or good cholesterol. This condition may cause hyper-cholestolemia and its attendant risks.
- CLA may also cause slowdowns blood clotting. In case if you take a CLA supplement along with an anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is nonsteroidal or anticoagulant “blood thinners,” it can further enhance this effect, leads to easy bleeding and bruising.
Warnings and precautions:
In addition to the already discussed side effects of CLA, there are few other conditions in which this supplement should be taken with care. These conditions include:
- Diabetes Mellitus
- Metabolic syndrome
There is nothing so much to worry about because all these side effects are infrequent. Overdosing is also very uncommon, so CLA is safe to use. It is advised to take CLA with food as it can reduce the risks of the mild side effects.
NOTE: In case of noticing any of the side effects, immediately visit a health professional for medical advice.
Frequently Asked Questions- Regarding CLA
Q1: Is CLA a scam?
Answer: In light of various researches and studies, it is evaluated that CLA supplements are not a scam and work as promoted. There is still no guarantee that a CLA supplement effectively loses weight, especially in the short term.
However, using CLA with regular exercise and a healthy diet may reduce body fat effectively while increasing lean muscle mass.
Q2: Is CLA an expensive product?
Answer: You will find a broad range of manufacturers of CLA, so the price of this supplement can also vary widely depending upon the type and amount of supplement you purchase.
Q3: What are the alternatives to CLA?
Answer: There are no alternatives to CLA supplements are available, other than consuming foods that contain a natural form of the compound.
CLA is indeed a natural fatty acid that promotes lean body composition and heart health. Still, there is another side of the scenario also. Studies show that CLA does not decrease BMI or body weight, or it has only modest effects on weight loss.
If you have decided to use a CLA supplement, take advice from your doctor about the benefits of the treatment and the potential risks of it. In addition to it always get a brand that is tested and certified by a recognized certifying body.