As one of the less popular supplements in today’s market, conjugated linoleic acid is a quiet supplement. But, what is CLA good for? It’s a fancy-sounding supplement that you see shredded bodybuilders take on the regular.
You may have heard of it, you may not have heard of it. However, today’s article is all about CLA’s, conjugated linoleic acid, power, and what it can do to our body. It is worth taking, or are we better off without them? Let’s find out!
What Is CLA?
As stated before, CLA stands for Conjugated Linoleic Acid and is a fatty acid. It’s categorized as a fatty acid from the omega-6 fatty acids, the other group being omega-3. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in seafood. Omega-6 fatty acids, on the other hand, are found in both meat and dairy.
CLA is found in large amounts naturally in vegetable oils and smaller amounts in other sources. There have been reported to be 28 different forms of CLA that all amazingly have different effects independently on one’s body.
The way the double-bonds are arranged in each CLA cause even the smallest of changes to it’s the overall effect on us. Two CLA forms account for most of the benefits you receive from taking CLA, T-10 and T-11.
The amount of CLA varies significantly from animal to animal. Still, research shows that people get adequate amounts of CLA from their regular diets as it is.
If this is the case, then why do CLA supplements exist? We clearly get enough CLA as it is from the food we usually eat, so why need more? Well, in actuality, the CLA we eat from ruminants, cows, and goats, is actually different from the CLA in supplements.
The conjugated linoleic acids in supplements is formulated much differently from the ones we find naturally in our foods. You’ll discover CLA’s like T-10 and T-11 in supplements but not normal foods like meat and dairy. This is why the supplements provide different “benefits” from those of the foods in our diet.
There is one primary benefit from taking CLA. To this day, the single benefit is still debated in the industry. Certain studies show one thing, while other studies show opposing things. I’ll let you in on all the information and let you decide at the end.
The CLA fatty acids of T-10 and T-11 contribute heavily to the benefit of weight and fat loss. T-11 increases the rate of fat burning while T-10 decreases the accumulation of fat, which results in weight loss for some people.
With obesity snowballing, CLA’s popularity grew immensely as a miracle supplement for people to start shedding pounds. Although changing their diet would be a much better option, CLA is still used for their benefits.
In some people, taking conjugated linoleic acid causes an immense change in their weight and body composition. This can lead to lower obesity and type-2 diabetes risks, two major diseases when having too much excess fat.
Before rushing to the store or an online supplement store, there’s something you should know about CLA. The majority of studies show only modest amounts of weight loss. I’ll discuss this a bit more detail in a later section, but research is not all that in favor of weight loss from conjugated linoleic acids.
The benefit of conjugated linoleic acid may be iffy on the trueness of weight loss, but the consequences of large doses of CLA has been observed and measured. Small doses of natural CLA in vegetable oil are safe/beneficial for other reasons, but remember, the CLA in supplements is different from that in natural sources.
Large doses of supplemental conjugated linoleic acids have shown increases in the build-up of fat in the liver, along with inflammation. Your liver is one of the most essential organs in the body responsible for filtering blood and getting rid of toxic substances.
Any damage to your liver is not worth any benefits, in my opinion. You only get one liver, and some damage can be irreversible. Even in moderate doses, CLA can cause other side effects of diarrhea and oxidative stress.
Is CLA Worth It?
With the definitive research that has been duplicated over and over again, CLA, in my opinion, is most definitely not worth it. Studies have shown time and time again that conjugated linoleic acid provides no substantial amount of fat loss in a majority of subjects.
Most studies have shown that after 4 months, the average weight loss measured is about 2.5 lbs. It’s something, better than nothing. But in a total of 4 months, that’s very underwhelming considering some people lose 30+ lbs in just 2.5 months, like me.
There are plenty of other proven and safer ways to lose weight than to resort to one supplement for the rest of your life. Not only will your body composition better from a complete diet change, but your life will see improvements that you would never have thought of.
If you were to continue using CLA supplements hoping for a steady fat loss, even if 2.5 lbs sounds good to you, plateau has been severely observed. A plateau of weight loss can be seen for up to two years.
The weight loss still isn’t worth the health risks you run for your liver in the body, in my opinion. A pound or so a month is not worth having fatty liver or experiencing diarrhea. Completely avoidable when opting for a complete diet change instead.
In conclusion, what is CLA good for? Conjugated linoleic acid supplements are good for your body composition because of their “weight loss” benefits. I quote that since research goes against any possibilities of weight loss that people claim.
The studies don’t back-up the benefits of weight loss, and for that reason, CLA is not worth it. The side effects you experience also isn’t a good trade when thinking of how little fat you can lose on CLA. A change to your overall is the better option as it will set you right now, and for the rest of your life.
Got any questions? Leave them down below, along with any comments you may have!