Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) – What is it and what are the benefits?


Even if it might seem shallow, society nowadays gives great importance to looks. On TV, magazines, billboards, everywhere around we see slim people with a perfect silhouette. One of the most significant health problems of our century is obesity which affects younger people by the year, and this is more than a simple aesthetics issue, it is a health problem with deadly consequences. When we are young, we feel that nothing can stop us from getting what we want. Eating on the run and enjoying late evening meals are taking the toll on our bodies after a while and once the fat layers are formed, it is difficult to get rid of them, especially after a certain age.

Genetics was generous with some people, and they are born to look good, but achieving that dreamy figure is one of the daily challenges most of us have to face every day. And once the weight goal is reached another fight begins to keep it for as long as possible. Even if some people are very determined to lose weight, not only for aesthetic reasons but health as well, things don’t go as planned. Metabolism no longer works as fast as it used to and some extra help is needed. Dietary supplements are one of the most popular options because they are easy to take and many of them are useful. Unfortunately, the market for nutritional supplements is not controlled yet by strict regulations, and there are manufacturers with the sole interest of making a profit and they are less concerned with the health of the customers. It is essential to make sure you invest in a natural product so you will get the desired results without causing any other problems. CLA represents one of these products.

What Is CLA?

CLA stands for Conjugated Linoleic Acid, and it is an essential fatty acid. This substance is a relatively new entry into the market of dietary supplements, but it is becoming more and more popular among those passionate about gym, fitness, bodybuilding or regular people who just want to lose some weight. Studies continue to find scientific proof that CLA plays a crucial role in weight management, so manufacturers of dietary supplements rushed to include it in their products.

Essential fatty acids like CLA are necessary for maintaining and improving the health condition, but unfortunately, the human body can’t produce them on its own, so we must take them from external sources. We can make sure to include in the daily diet foods which are rich in CLA like, dairy products, pork, beef, eggs or mushrooms or merely choose the pills available on the market. As long as the source is high quality the rest, it is a personal choice.

Benefits of CLA for Health

Natural versus supplements is a subject which created a lot of controversy among scientists, doctors, and customers. Both options bring advantages and disadvantages, and it is all about finding the right solution for each. The dietary supplements based on Conjugated Linoleic Acid have the advantage of containing larger quantities of the main active ingredient, so the benefits are noticed faster. In order to obtain the same results one must eat substantial amounts of food, and in some cases it is impossible. On the other hand, going for the natural sources reduces the risk of side effects considerably, because it doesn’t contain any GMO or synthetic ingredients.

Regardless the source of CLA one decides to use the benefits remain the same.

  1. Weight management and boosting metabolism

The benefit mostly used for promoting this substance is the weight loss. Even if we have access to a wide variety of dietary supplements which promise to melt the extra weight away, every time a new product enters the market it gets a lot of attention. Unlike other similar supplements which offer more promises than results, CLA actually works, and there is scientific proof for that. Clinical trials concluded that constant consumption of this substance has the potential to reduce the body fat and as a result, the weight also drops due to biochemical chain reactions which boost the basal metabolic rate. This is a critical aspect of managing weight because it represents the lowest amount of energy the body needs to function correctly. A higher BMR rate means that the food is transformed into energy more efficiently. The conjugated linoleic acid is responsible for increasing the energy level so we can burn out fat faster.

There are several decades of medical and scientific studies which back up this benefit for the health. The most noticeable effects of CLA are with overweight and obese people. Studies conducted over the years revealed a decrease of their body fat mass and the most important part is that these values last for a long time. Also, a weight difference was observed in healthy individuals, which means that CLA can help you lose weight in all situations. Of course, to get the best results possible, one must live a healthy life, eat good food and work out regularly.

  1. Reduces the values of blood sugar and cholesterol

By reducing the body fat, CLA brings other benefits associated with lower weight. Feeling good is just as important as looking good. Overweight comes with a string of other health issues attached such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar, insulin resistance or atherosclerosis. Including Conjugated Linoleic Acid in the daily routine reduces the risk of dealing with diabetes or heart disease considerably. Even medical studies revealed a reduction of LDL and total cholesterol level in the animals who were subjects for the experiment. Studies conducted later on humans confirmed that CLA has the potential to increase the use of stored fat and transform it into energy.

  1. Increases the muscle mass

Because CLA can enhance the basal metabolic rate, the percentage of the body fat mass is being reduced through a series of chemical reactions in the body. Unfortunately, this is not enough to notice a significant difference when it comes to the scale because CLA is very useful in increasing the mass of the lean muscle. The result is a more toned up body and a faster burn of the calories without any effort.

  1. Strengthens the immune system

Constant pressure on the body for losing weight through exercise and poor diet habits can make it more vulnerable to illness. CLA supplements can boost the immune system and prevent specific health issues. It can even help you fight the common cold during its season.

Side effects of CLA

So far, scientists didn’t find any possible dangerous or severe side effects of CLA. Considering that this substance is naturally found in certain foods the risk of dealing with complications which might endanger your health and life is very low. Knowing that there are still many ongoing studies about this substance and the list of benefits and side effects is still opened it is better for pregnant and breastfeeding women to avoid taking it in medicinal amounts and only eat foods which contain CLA. Some doctors might recommend children to receive this type of supplement but not for longer than seven months in a row, just to stay on the safe side.

Just like any other supplement taken in overdose, CLA might cause some unpleasant effects like upset stomach, fatigue, diarrhea, and nausea, but nothing severe, and the symptoms can be diminished by merely reducing the amount of CLA you take.

People aware of suffering from various medical conditions must get the doctor’s approval before starting a treatment based on CLA, just to make sure they don’t make things worse. If you are diagnosed with one of the following disorders, you must be precautious with supplementing on CLA:

  • Blood clotting issues – the effect of medication for this type of health problems might be canceled by high levels of CLA in the daily diet because this substance slows down the blood clotting and as a result, the risk of bleeding or bruising is enhanced.
  • Diabetes – some doctors expressed their concerns that CLA might influence the values of blood sugar so until this problem is officially cut off the list people with this diagnosis must be careful when supplementing on this substance
  • Metabolic syndrome – it is believed that conjugated linoleic acid increases the risk of diabetes in people with metabolic syndrome and it is better to get the doctor’s approval before starting treatment.
  • Surgery – CLA acts on the blood’s ability to clot, and it might cause excessive bleeding in case of an injury. If you have an operation scheduled it is advisable to stop using it at with two weeks before so there will be no complications.
  • Fatigue – is another possible side effect of CLA supplements which have a negative impact on the ability to stay focused during the day and could make you feel the need for more sleep than usual
  • Diarrhea – high dosage of CLA might cause intestinal irritation, and an immediate consequence is frequent loose stool due to the urgent movement of the bowel, also known as diarrhea. These episodes are often associated with bloating, stomach pain and cramping. If the problem persists, there is a high risk of becoming dehydrated, and symptoms like a headache, dizziness, thirst and dry skin appear. It is essential to seek medical attention if the problem doesn’t go away when you stop taking CLA
  • Stomach discomfort – some people might experience an intense sensation of nausea and loss of appetite. If the symptoms are not temporary or they become more complicated such as vomiting, you need to talk to a doctor.

What are the most popular CLA supplements?

First of all, it is essential to understand that CLA is not a wonder pill, but a supplement. It won’t do magic on your weight and make you lose the body fat over the night. This substance supports the body to burn fat faster and grow the lean muscle. For best results possible any dietary supplement must be backed up by a healthy lifestyle and eating habits. A low-calorie diet and constant physical exercises will boost the effectiveness of CLA.

Here are some of the most popular CLA safflower oil supplements available on the market right now and they received positive reviews and feedback from users determined to improve their looks and health.

  • Gen-tec Nutrition CLA – each capsule has 1000 mg of Safflower oil fatty acids which work to enhance the effectiveness of that 800 mg of CLA in the formula. This supplement costs around $60 a bottle, which is a reasonable price for 90 soft gel capsules.
  • Vita Direct Premium CLA 800 – is a product with a similar formula, 1000 mg of safflower oil and 800 mg of CLA, only the price is much lower. A bottle with 180 serving costs just $20 plus shipping fees.
  • San – PURE CLA 1500 – is promoted as one of the most potent CLA supplement available for purchase. One bottle has 120 soft gel capsules each containing 1.5 g of concentrated safflower oil, 1.2 g of CLA, 120 mg of oleic acid, 79 mg palmitic acid and 29 and stearic acid, along with other ingredients obtained from natural sources as well. This supplement can be purchased online for only $40.
  • Muscle Pharm CLA 1000 Soft gels – puts great emphasis on its potential burn fat and support the muscle growth due to its 1000 mg servings. A bottle contains 180 capsules and costs less than $22
  • Isatori CLA – is designed for people interested in going to the gym for obtaining a lean definition of their muscles. The formula contains 1000 mg of CLA and 381 mg of a unique metabolism blend of guarana seed extract, yerba mate extract, and other natural ingredients. The price is a little above the average as a bottle with 40 capsules costs around $40, but the product guarantees the high quality of its ingredients.
  • CLA 1250 by Sports Research – is another top option among CLA supplements users as it has a high concentration of primary active ingredient, 1250 mg per serving. The price is $27 for a bottle with 180 capsules. These pills are also an excellent choice for vegans who can’t take their CLA from meat and dairy products as most people do.

These are just a small part of the CLA supplements options available for purchasing. It is essential to talk with a doctor before starting any treatment so you make sure you invest in a high-quality product which is suited to your individual health needs and it will help you improve your life and health instead of endangering it. The doctor will recommend you the right daily dosage and will monitor your evolution for best results.

Summing up – CLA and the fight with weight

Conjugated Linoleic Acid, mostly known as CLA is an essential fatty acid that the human body needs to function correctly, but unfortunately, it can’t produce it on its own. That is why finding the best way to supplement is essential for every one of us. Some people prefer to take it from foods and include in their diet certain types of meat like beef or pork, dairy products obtained from whole fat milk, eggs or mushrooms. But in most cases, this is not enough to ensure the body gets the necessary daily amount of CLA the body requires to keep its functions at optimum levels.

Medical studies reveal more and more benefits of including CLA in the daily diet. Not only it is an excellent ally in the fight with excessive weight, and it can help melt away that stubborn belly fat, but it also brings associated health improvements like controlling the blood sugar level, reducing the insulin resistance or regulating the blood pressure.

A simple pill will not change the game entirely overnight. It requires patience and determination. Including CLA in the diet is the first step towards a healthier life but it needs to be supported with physical exercises and a low-calorie diet. The online market presents countless options for CLA supplements with different prices. Even if the average cost is accessible, you must make sure you invest the money, time and energy in a product which will make your life better. The supplements have various concentrations of the main active ingredient, and it is better to get a recommendation from a doctor according to your lifestyle and medical history. As long as you make sure your CLA comes from high-quality sources, your looks and health will change for the better, regardless if you choose between natural sources and dietary supplements or find a balance between both.

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