Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is related to omega-6 fatty acids and is naturally occurring in dairy and animal fats such as beef, lamb, whole milk and eggs. Bacteria living in the guts of ruminant animals, like cows, convert linoleic acid into different isoforms of CLA by biohydrogenation. CLAs have become a very popular dietary supplement.
CLA is the best weight loss supplement
Many people believe that supplementing your diet with CLA can help you lose fat, maintain weight loss, help build and retain muscle mass and control diabetes type-2. CLA is sold in health food stores, discount stores, pharmacies, grocery stores and online. CLA is sold as a pill or syrup. The syrup is reported to taste good and it can be mixed with foods. CLA comes in different concentrations, however make sure to buy a product that has 80 percent CLA so that you can get the most weight-loss results. CLAs are essential fatty acids meaning our bodies can’t make them so we have to take them through our diet or by supplementation.
CLAs make up a family of least 28 known isomers of linoleic acid derived from ruminants. For those of you into chemistry it has 18 carbons and 2 double bonds. The double bonds exist two carbons away from each other. These fatty acids are all polyunsaturated and some of them are trans fatty acids.
There are many CLAs, however there are two of importance. One is called c9t11 (cis-9, trans-11) also known as rumenic acid and the other is t10c12 (trans-10, cis-12), named after what bond occurs where on the side chain. While most artificially produced trans fatty acids have negative effects on health and are linked to cardiovascular disease and cancer, trans CLA is just the opposite in that it protects against those diseases. Be careful not to confuse conjugated linoleic acid with the basic fatty acid linoleic acid.
Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptors (PPAR)
CLA is reported to be a fat burner and health promoting agent because of its effect on a signaling receptor family known as peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPAR) which is involved with fat burning, steroid signaling, inflammation and glucose/fat metabolism. PPARs are a group of nuclear receptor proteins that function as transcription factors that regulate genetic expression. They play an essential role in regulating carbohydrate, lipid and protein metabolism and tumorigenesis.
If you eat meat and drink milk, your average CLA intake will be somewhere around 150 to 212 mg daily. How much you actually get from your food depends on the breed of animal, nutritional status and age. As you probably known by now, cows that are raised in feedlots and fed grain diets produce meat and milk that is nearly devoid of CLA. Milk from cows that are raised free-range have around 5 times more CLA. Think about how that effects your health.
CLA Study in Costa Rica
In Costa Rica, cows are grass-fed. A major study involving 4,000 people in Costa Rica illustrates the difference between meat and milk produced in feedlots versus grass-fed. The researchers found that people with the highest blood content of CLA had a 49 percent lower risk of heart attack than those that had low CLA content. These findings also held true even with other cardiovascular-risk factors like hypertension (high blood pressure) and smoking were added to the analysis. Clearly the CLA content of milk from grass-fed cow was more than sufficient to counter the possible cardiovascular effects of the saturated fat in whole milk. However, CLA may ward off heart attacks through a number of other mechanisms. It is known to boost antioxidant activity by increasing catalase and glutathione peroxidase activity.
With all this in mind, you might want to supplement your diet with CLA. It appears to have a number of major health benefits. You might also consider buying meat, milk, butter and eggs.
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