Sadly, there’s no magic formula for losing weight, but you can give your weight loss efforts a helping hand. One supplement that’s gaining ground is CLA, or conjugated linoleic acid, but can it really help you maintain a healthy weight?
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CLA is an omega-6 fatty acid found naturally in meat and dairy, especially from grass-fed varieties. It comes from the linoleic acid (LA) in the grass and grains eaten by animals such as cows and sheep.
CLA supplements are usually made from the LA found in safflower oil or sunflower oil. LA is altered using chemicals, enzymes, or ‘good’ bacteria during the manufacturing process to convert it into CLA.
CLA is thought to trigger a series of chemical reactions that stimulate fat-burning in the body. It may work in a number of different ways:
Handpicked content: How to get results with a weekly diet planBut combining CLA with a healthy lifestyle could see even greater results. In 2001, Norwegian scientists followed 20 healthy adults who exercised for 90 minutes three times a week, for 12 weeks. The ones who took CLA every day lost more body fat than those who only exercised.2 CLA could even aid weight loss while you catch some zzzs. Research by the University of Wisconsin-Madison found CLA enhanced fat burning during sleep.3
Lean muscle burns more calories than fat at rest, so increasing your lean muscle mass could help you lose weight.In 2007, a study reported in the Journal of Nutrition revealed that people with obesity taking 6.4g of CLA a day increased their lean body mass by 0.64kg over 12 weeks.6
1. Gaullier JM, et al. Conjugated linoleic acid supplementation for 1 y reduces body fat mass in healthy overweight humans. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15159244
2. Thom E, Wadstein J, Gudmundsen O. Conjugated linoleic acid reduces body fat in healthy exercising humans. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11725826
3. Close RN, et al. Conjugated linoleic acid supplementation alters the 6-mo change in fat oxidation during sleep. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17823448
4. Gaullier JM, et al. Six months supplementation with conjugated linoleic acid induces regional-specific fat mass decreases in overweight and obese. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17313718
5. Laso N, et al. Effects of milk supplementation with conjugated linoleic acid (isomers cis-9, trans-11 and trans-10, cis-12) on body composition and metabolic syndrome components. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17623486/
6. Steck SE, et al. Conjugated linoleic acid supplementation for twelve weeks increases lean body mass in obese humans. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17449580