Conjugated Linoleic Acid, better known as CLA, is an ingredient found in many weight loss supplements. But, what exactly is it and how can it benefit you? Here’s what you need to know about this popular diet supplement.
CLA is a type of polyunsaturated fat; specifically, it’s an omega-6 fatty acid. The human body can’t produce CLA on its own, and so we can only get it through our diet or through supplements. In nature, CLA is a naturally occurring fatty acid found in ruminants of certain animals and animal food products, like ground beef and other meats, cheese, and dairy—types of food often excluded in restricted-calorie diet plans.
CLA has a long history of research, with well over 100 studies in humans. In these studies, it was observed that CLA acts to reduce adiposity, or fat deposition, by modulating properties in the lipid metabolism or fat metabolism in our body. Scientists believe that CLA reduces the uptake of fat from the bloodstream into the fat cells. This ensures that the size of the fat cells remains small and they do not mature, reducing the overall fat count in the body.
CLA is well known for its weight loss benefits, but CLA’s benefits extend well beyond a more slender waist. Further studies suggest that in addition to increasing muscle strength and exercise endurance, CLA has been shown to help with overall health, from reducing body fat, decreasing cancer risk, and preventing heart disease. Now CLA has been shown to work in skincare products to prevent signs of aging.
When used along with a regimented diet and exercise plan, CLA not only reduces body fat but also increases muscle strength and exercise endurance. In recent years, CLA supplementation has also been used in sports, aiming to reduce body fat and possibly improve performance. One trial, monitoring the benefits of CLA supplementation on muscle development, showed that consuming 7.2 grams of CLA per day when accompanied by a bodybuilding regimen, led to an increase in skin-fold corrected arm girth, leg press gains, and overall body mass, as compared to a placebo group which performed the same routine without CLA.
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CLA is one of the “good fats,” naturally present in foods such as beef and dairy products, but only at low levels. Ironically, beef and dairy products are the same foods that are also high in what we think of as “bad fats,” or saturated fats, so to get sufficient CLA you would have to eat a lot of fat. Even if you resolve to gulp down several glasses of whole milk each day, you probably won’t be getting enough CLA to get its complete benefits.
Given this, supplements are the healthiest way to get CLA because they are manufactured to contain a specific balance of biologically active CLA isomers. GNC Total Lean CLA works with your diet and exercise program, to help you get real results!