CLA is especially important for people who are overweight or suffer from diabetes, those who consume very little fat, as well as athletes and bodybuilders.
CLA is mainly known for its optimal effects on the metabolism of lipids and on muscle. Other benefits also include: lowering cholesterol, boosting the immune system and blocking cortisol.
Biochemically, CLA or conjugated linoleic acid, is a derivative of linoleic acid and one of the polyunsaturated essential fatty acids that must be ingested through food daily. It is one of the well-known Omega-6 fatty acids.
CLA is found in large quantities in red meat and in dairy products. It promotes the reduction of fatty tissue and the formation of lean body mass (without fat).
In addition, CLA also stimulates the immune system, prevents the hardening of the arteries and increases performance and physical resistance.
CLA is recommended for athletes and bodybuilders, as well as for the elderly and those who have a diet that is low in fatty acids.
What is CLA?
It is conjugated linoleic acid, one of the polyunsaturated fatty acids.
The isomers CLA cis,9-trans-11 and trans-10,cis-12 offer the highest bioactivity levels.
It is an essential fatty acid that must be ingested through food daily.
It plays an essential role in the metabolism of fat, since it not only improves the availability of fats consumed but also aids in the destruction of fat cells.
CLA or conjugated linoleic acid, also stimulates muscle metabolism and the functioning of the immune system.
CLA is also a powerful antioxidant which inhibits the growth of some types of cancer tumours and protects against atherosclerosis.
It also has a positive effect on sugar and lipid levels in blood.
CLA is mainly found in dairy and red meat products.
It has anti-inflammatory properties and is a neurprotectant.
What is the purpose of CLA? Effects of consumption
Improvement of body composition (helps to burn fat and increase muscle)
Several studies show that CLA is effective in raising metabolic expenditure, thereby increasing thermogenesis and the burning of fatty acids through multiple mechanisms. This process involves an increase in uncoupling proteins (UCP) which help to regulate energy efficiency and are responsible for maintaining body temperature when we are exposed to the cold, or even for burning the excess calories we ingest through diet.
The energy that comes from carbohydrate, lipid and protein oxidation is used to create ATP. However, if the oxidation procedure is not fully engaged, a portion of that energy is lost as heat. UCP helps bring about this decoupling by helping to dissipate more energy, speeding up our basal metabolism and thereby promoting fat loss. These proteins are created mostly in the brown fatty tissue cells, although they are also found in other tissues such as muscle. But the increased metabolism also explains why CLA promotes the synthesis of eicosanoids, causing the release of neurotransmitters such as insulin, serotonin, epinephrine or dopamine. As a result, energy and fat metabolism is accelerated.
CLA and the regulation of sugar levels
Another mechanism through which CLA is beneficial for weight loss, is its role in improving insulin activity so that glucose and fatty acids are quickly available to muscles and are not stored in the form of fat cells. It also improves insulin sensitivity, producing a positive effect on blood sugar levels.
CLA and the blockage of lipogenesis and adipogenesis
Another CLA mechanism resides in its ability to block lipogenesis and for adipogenesis. Lipogenesis is the overcrowding of fat on the inside of adipocytes. Adipogenesis is the differentiation and creation of new adipocytes. CLA is a great tool for avoiding the accumulation of fat on the inside of adipocytes and also in its differentiation and even disposal (apoptosis).
CLA and increase in muscle mass
Rather than promoting the increase of muscle mass, CLA prevents its loss during periods of weight loss and/or improvement of definition, for this reason we can refer to it as an "anti-catabolic" agent. CLA promotes the storage of glycogen energy to encourage the use of fat as a source of energy. Also, it does not use amino acids as a source of energy when there is a calorific deficit. The fatty acid CLA also has antioxidant properties, blocking the anti-catabolic effect of cortisol (the stress hormone).
CLA strengthens the immune system and reduces inflammation
CLA may also help stimulate the synthesis of antibodies, strengthen the immune system and reduce hypersensitivity or allergic responses. CLA also appears to exert a powerful anti-inflammatory effect.
CLA and cardiovascular health
CLA helps to decrease the creation of atherosclerotic plaque, promoting the release of substances with vasoactive properties, blocking inflammatory processes and reducing cholesterol levels in the cells responsible for atherogenesis. There is scientific evidence that CLA may also be beneficial for balancing high blood pressure and in blocking platelet aggregation.
CLA as a neuroprotectant
CLA may also have protective benefits against the toxicity caused by glutamate in some types of neurological disorders which result in the death of neurons.
CLA is recommended in the following cases:
Low fat diets
Prevention of atherosclerosis
In cases of diabetes mellitus
What food contains CLA?
CLA is found in its natural form almost exclusively in animal origin food, such as milk, milk products and in beef or lamb. Also, corn oil and flax seeds contain small amounts of these fatty acids.
What are the symptoms of a CLA deficiency?
Although it is very difficult to prove a CLA deficiency, it is thought that there is a direct relationship between a lack of CLA and an increase in body fat. A CLA deficiency can also cause growth disorders and skin problems such as acne.
CLA doses / How to take CLA
To obtain the above-mentioned benefits, taking between 3.2 and 6.4 g of CLA (in several doses spread throughout the day) is recommended. This amount would be impossible to obtain solely through food since with a normal consumption of animal products one would only consume around 300 milligrammes per day.
From a nutritional point of view, to obtain the recommended amount of 3 grammes of CLA, we should eat a huge amount of cheese or minced meat, which are fatty and high in calories, but which ultimately would be harmful to our health. Therefore it makes sense to take CLA through dietary supplement, which allows one to obtain the desired effect without overloading the body with excess calories.
We should keep several things in mind when taking a CLA supplement. It should be remembered that it is a fat and therefore its consumption in food and along with other fats will help its assimilation.
Taking CLA with omega-3 has a synergistic effect in promoting fat loss, maintaining muscle mass and increasing adiponectin levels. Which is a hormone that prevents the formation of aretomas (fat deposits fat in the arterial wall) and that has anti-inflammatory effects. A low level of adiponectin is closely linked with having a high body fat percentage.
The opinion of experts on CLA:
1. Fat reduction through CLA use
A controlled double-blind study with placebo carried out in Sweden, has demonstrated that CLA can significantly reduce body fat. Taking a daily dose of 4.2 grammes of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) for 4 weeks can reduce the circumference of the waist by around 2.5 centimetres, without the need to change daily habits.
2. Reducing blood sugar levels with CLA
In a recent placebo-controlled study, scientists have shown that the regular intake of CLA leads to an improvement in the glucose levels in the blood. It showed that patients who took CLA had blood sugar levels five times lower than the group of participants who took the placebo.
Types of CLA
As we explained at the beginning of this section, conjugated linoleic acid is composed of different isomers, the main ones being cis-9, trans-11 isomer (9,11 CLA) and trans-10, cis 12 isomer (10,12 CLA).
Commercial formulas often include forms of CLA manufactured from vegetable oils (safflower, sunflower or corn). Vegetable oils made from safflower tend to have a mixture of 40% of the isomer 9,11 and 44% of isomer 10,12 along with trace amounts of other isomers.
It seems that 9,11 CLA isomer is the one with the greatest anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties and which increases sensitivity to insulin the most. However, 10,12 CLA isomer has the greater capacity of improving body composition, by aiding in the elimination of fat and increasing muscle mass.
There are numerous CLA products on the market, but the two best-known patented brands are Tonalin® are Clarinol®, both made from safflower oil extracts.
HSN CLA Essentials, is a product based on safflower oil CLA (the same source used in the patented Tonalin and Clarinol formulas) which in addition to being a quality product has the advantage of being cheaper than other formulas.
For the manufacture of our products we don't cut corners on the origin of the raw materials or in the production methods. Our prices are affordable as we cut out the middle man. The products go directly from the factory to your home!
For whom is CLA particularly important?
For muscle development
For those who are overweight
For people with a low-fat diet
For the elderly
CLA side effects and interactions
No side effects or interactions have been detected when taking the recommended dose of CLA as a dietary supplement. As a precaution, if you are pregnant, breastfeeding a baby or taking medication, you should first consult your doctor before taking conjugated linoleic acid. In fact, studies have been done on a dosage of 7,5g over a one-year period and no adverse effects on health nor toxicity were detected. The only thing detected was a slight decrease in HCL cholesterol and an increase in triglyceride levels.
Despite the fact that CLA has antioxidant effects, taking very high doses could interrupt the oxidation and cause the opposite effect. It is therefore essential not to take higher than recommended doses.
For over twenty years many clinical studies have shown that CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) helps to burn body fat and to stimulate the building of muscle mass. That's why CLA is the ideal dietary supplement for people looking to "get rid of those extra pounds" and to maintain muscle mass.