Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) has established itself as a popular fat loss supplement, with bodybuilders, athletes and the general population alike turning to it to achieve their fat loss goals. A fatty acid found in meat, cheese and daily products, CLA has been the subject of many studies which have confirmed that it does, indeed, promote fat loss. It helps to promote fat loss by accelerating the activity of an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase. Lipoprotein lipase has the effect of promoting stored fat cells as the body’s preferred energy burning fuel.
A study out of Scandinavia providing a CLA supplement containing 4.5 grams, which was 80% CLA and free fatty acids or triacylglycerol, each day to a study group, comprising 149 women and 31 men. The subjects took the CLA supplement for a period of one year. Over that time period they did not alter their lifestyle or eating habits.
Body fat was measured using the extremely precise dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry method to measure body fat. The average fat loss among the test subjects was 9 pounds over the course of the year. Researchers were not able to identify the exact reason for the fat loss, but speculated that it may be caused by the CLA either killing or shrinking the fat cells. Alternatively they thought that the CLA had the effect of speeding up the metabolism.
An analysis of the food diaries kept by the test subjects revealed another possible reason for the fat loss. As the study progressed, the test subjects progressively consumed fewer calories. By the end of the study they were taking an average of 273 fewer calories than that when the study began. Researchers hypothesized that CLA may have a suppressant effect on appetite. Further studies will be needed to confirm this hypothesis.
In another study, this time from the Cognis Corporatioin, researchers found very similar results to the Scandinavian study. People who were moderately overweight were given a daily supplement of 4.5 grams of CLA over the course of one year. Not only did the test subjects lose nine pounds, but they also gained an average of two pounds of lean muscle mass. As in the Scandinavian study, all body measurements were taken with the dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry method.
These two studies confirm that CLA is an effective fat loss supplement.
People considering taking CLA as a fat loss supplement are advised to take the some dosage as used in the Scandinavian study, that is 4.5 grams per day.
Weight Loss Development’s experts highly recommend to exercise and eat healthy while taking the CLA supplement for a greater effect.
Am J Clin Nut, 79: 1118-1125, 2004
American Oil and Chemist Society Annual Meeting, 2003