You might have come across information about CLA and its potential benefits for weight loss and burning fat. Conjugated acid (CLA) is naturally present in animal feeds, particularly those from grass fed cows, goats and sheep. Apart from enhancing immunity and reducing inflammation, CLA also plays a role in regulating blood sugar levels. However it's essential to understand how it impacts loss specifically. Can CLA truly assist in achieving weight loss goals and obtaining a physique? Let's delve into the details to find out.
How Does CLA Work as a Fat Burner?
There are various hypotheses about how CLA burns fat. One possibility is that CLA inhibits lipoprotein lipase, which stores fat. CLA inhibits this enzyme to reduce fat buildup and enhance fat breakdown. Another possibility is that CLA enhances carnitine palmitoyltransferase, which transfers fatty acids into mitochondria for energy. CLA boosts this enzyme, which may enhance fat oxidation and calorie expenditure. A third argument is that CLA affects fat metabolism genes to reduce fat cell synthesis and increase brown fat cell production, which burns more calories. CLA may affect these genes to help the body lose weight.
What Are the Benefits of CLA for Fat Loss?
Several studies have investigated the effects of CLA on fat loss in humans. The results have been mixed, but some positive findings have been reported. For example:
- A comprehensive review of 18 studies, where participants were randomly assigned to groups and involved a total of 1,569 individuals revealed that taking CLA supplements (at a daily dosage of 3.2 grams) for a minimum duration of six months resulted in a noticeable yet modest decrease in body fat mass (around 0.05 kg, per week) when compared to those who took a placebo.
- A 12-week study involving 60 overweight or obese participants found that CLA supplementation (3.4 grams per day) reduced body fat mass by 1.7 kg and increased lean body mass by 0.5 kg compared to placebo.
- A 24-week study involving 134 participants with metabolic syndrome found that CLA supplementation (4.5 grams per day) reduced body fat mass by 2.2 kg and waist circumference by 2 cm compared to placebo.
- A 12-month study involving 40 obese children found that CLA supplementation (3 grams per day) reduced body fat percentage by 1.7% and increased lean body mass by 0.6 kg compared to placebo.
These studies demonstrate that CLA may aid fat loss when combined with a healthy diet and exercise. These effects are minor and may not be clinically significant for most people.
What Are the Drawbacks of CLA for Fat Loss?
While CLA may offer some advantages for fat loss, it also comes with some drawbacks that should be considered before taking it as a supplement. For instance:
- The safety and potential long term effects of taking CLA supplements are still uncertain. Some studies have reported instances of discomfort, diarrhea, nausea, fatigue, headaches and inflammation.
- The best CLA dose and duration for fat removal remain unknown. varied studies have utilized varied doses (0.7 to 6.8 grams per day) and durations (four weeks to two years) with diverse results.
- CLA supplement quality and purity varies by product and source. Supplements may contain pollutants or other chemicals that impact efficacy and safety.
- Supplementing with CLA may not help lose fat. CLA supplements cost $10–$50 or more per month, depending on brand and dosage. It may not be worth the cost given its benefits.
Should You Take CLA as a Fat Burner?
Ultimately CLA should not be seen as a cure-all solution for losing fat. While there may be some advantages to using it, these benefits are likely to be marginal and influenced by various factors like the food you consume, your physical activity, genetic makeup and overall health. It's also important to consider the drawbacks of CLA including possible side effects, uncertainty surrounding its effectiveness and the associated cost. Therefore it is not advisable to rely on CLA as a means of burning fat. Instead it would be more beneficial to concentrate on effective approaches for weight loss and fat burning methods such, as;
- Eating a balanced, nutritious diet with protein, fiber, healthy fats, antioxidants, and a few added sweets, refined carbs, and processed foods.
- Regular aerobic and resistance training that challenges your muscles, heart, and lungs.
- Stress management and sleep can alter hormones, hunger, and metabolism.
- Staying hydrated and avoiding alcohol, soda, and other sugary drinks, which add calories and dehydrate.
- Realistic and detailed objectives and documenting progress and achievements can motivate and hold you accountable.
Here are some strategies that can assist you in achieving weight loss and fat burning in a sustainable manner. While CLA could be an addition to your routine it should not take precedence over your overall efforts.