October 11 2021
What is conjugated linoleic acid?
Conjugated linoleic acid or CLA is the most common omega 6 fatty acids found in vegetable oils. Linoleic acid is the name of fatty acid and conjugated has to do with the arrangement of double bonds in the fatty acid.
CLA is found in meat and dairy products and is believed to have numerous health benefits. Besides, it is also a popular weight loss supplement. In this article, we will discuss the health effects of CLA.
There are nearly 28 forms of CLA and they differ from each other in arrangement of the double bonds. Conjugated linoleic acid is a type of polyunsaturated omega 6 fatty acid. In other words, it can be said that CLA is a trans fat but this trans fat occurs naturally in various healthy foods.
CLA being a natural trans fat is different from the industrial trans fat. Industrial trans fat, unlike CLA, is more harmful when consumed in high amounts.
So we can summarize it by saying that CLA is technically a trans fat but is very different from industrial trans fat and hence does not harm your health.
CLA is found in beef and dairy. The main dietary sources include meat and milk of cows, goats and sheep. Now the amount of CLA in them depends on what the animal ate. For instance, it has been found that CLA content is 300-500% higher in beef and dairy from grass-fed cows as compared to grain-fed cows.
Most people get enough CLA through their diet. It is important to note here that CLA found in the supplement is not derived from natural foods. Rather, it is chemically prepared from linoleic acid found in vegetable oils. So this might be a reason as to why CLA supplements do not provide the same health effects as CLA from foods.
Can CLA aid in weight loss?
Researchers initially found that CLA could help fight cancer in mice. Afterwards, they found that it could also help reduce body fat. We know that obesity has become a common condition worldwide. And hence interest grew in CLA as a potential weight loss supplement. Interestingly, CLA accounts to be one of the most comprehensively studied weight loss supplements worldwide.
Now, how does CLA aid in weight loss?
A study was done on mice. It was found that CLA reduced food intake, increased fat burning and inhibited fat production. Some other studies suggest that CLA can cause significant fat loss in humans. Besides this, it is believed that CLA improves body composition by increasing muscle mass and decreasing body fat.
Analysis of 18 controlled trials revealed that CLA can cause modest fat loss. Also, during the first six months, the effects are more pronounced. However, it is seen that after six months, fat loss plateaus for two years.Though it is believed that CLA supplement is associated with weight loss, the effects are unreliable and small. Long term observational studies suggest that people who consume large amounts of CLA are at a lesser risk for type 2 diabetes and cancer. Also, studies have shown that countries where cows predominantly eat grass rather than grain have a lower risk of heart disease.
But this lower risk can also be the result of other protective components like vitamin K2 in grass-fed animal products.Studies have shown that people who consume CLA have better metabolic health and are less prone to many diseases.
Side effects of CLA
Getting small amounts of natural CLA from food is considered to be beneficial for most people. However, CLA found in supplement is chemically derived from linolenic acid found in vegetable oils. Hence this CLA is different from what is found naturally in food.
People get a higher dose from these supplements as compared to what they get from dairy or meat. Usually, it is seen that some molecules and nutrients, when found naturally in real foods, are more effective and when taken in large amounts they become harmful. And researchers believe that the same is the case with CLA supplements as well.
Large doses of supplemental CLA can cause metabolic syndromes and diabetes as it causes an increase in the accumulation of fat in the liver. Other studies show that CLA can drive inflammation, it can lower good that is HDL cholesterol and can also cause insulin resistance. But these effects were seen in the studies where large doses of CLA were used.
Studies with reasonable doses of CLA found that CLA supplements can result in mild to moderate side effects like insulin resistance, diarrhea and oxidative stress.
Studies were in a dose of 3.2 to 6.4 grams of CLA per day was used to suggest that CLA does not cause any serious adverse effect at doses upto 6 grams per day. However, if you increase the dose, then there is more risk of these side effects.
Check out Alvizia's premium CLA supplement. The supplement is indicated for weight loss. It can be used to improve the immune system as well as a fat burner. This non-vegetarian product helps to burn body weight. The supplement can act as muscle mass gainer and is beneficial for weight loss and fitness. Being a powerful antioxidant, it plays an important role in the maintenance of health. It reduces the destruction caused by free radicals. The uncontrolled free radical damage can lead to premature ageing. CLA increases metabolic activity thereby burning the excess fats in our body. And that is how it allows subsequent loss of weight.
CLA capsules are also available in the form of tablets and weight loss shakes. However, these CLA soft gels can be absorbed in a better way as compared to the tablets.
According to the various studies done regarding CLA, CLA has modest effects on weight loss. No serious side effect of the supplement is reported as of now however long term use of the supplement should be avoided. It's worth noting that losing a few pounds of weight may not be worth the potential health risks, especially when you have better options to lose weight.