Conjugated Linoleic Acid
Also known as: CLA
Don't be scared of fat! CLA is a mighty fatty acid that can improve lean mass gains, drop body fat, and protect your immune system.
What is Conjugated Linoleic Acid?
Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) is a mixture of different isomers of linoleic acid (LA), an omega-6 fatty acid important to human health. Omega-6 fatty acids exist in the the foods we eat, primarily meat and dairy products.
CLA is a supplement that many have heard of but probably dont know much about. Current research suggests that CLA has a number of benefits for bodybuilders and athletes alike. Conjugated linoleic acid is also being studied for it potential source as an anticancer compounds and antioxidants.
Where Does It Come From?
Conjugated Linoleic Acids are primarily derived from meats such as beef, lamb, and bison, as well as dairy and eggs. The richest source of naturally occurring CLA comes from one of Australias best known animals, the kangaroo. Scientists have also learned that animals that subsist mostly on grass-fed diets contain higher levels of CLA than animals that are fed corn or grain-based diets. Seafood and vegetable oils are generally not considered high sources of CLA.
What does it do?
For many years, nutrition gurus basically dismissed fats, assuming they didn't have any useful role in nutrition and actually caused you to gain fat. Instead, experts zeroed in on the protein-sparing and energy-boosting effects of carbohydrates. This resulted in the mass media and many experts proclaiming "all-fat-is-bad" and embarking on the low-fat diet campaign.
The tide seems to be turning though, as more nutritionists and registered dieticians realize how important fatty acids are not only for health, but for the various ergogenic benefits they possess, particularly in helping the body synthesize necessary muscle-building hormones.
Although all the mechanisms of action of CLA are not fully understood, it is gaining notoriety as a potent performance enhancing supplement, particularly in regards to energy regulation and metabolic rate. CLA has been shown in various animal studies to increase growth rate through increased food efficiency. Basically, animals that had a controlled diet supplemented with CLA showed increased muscle tissue (protein synthesis) while simultaneously exhibiting decreased body fat.
The interesting note is that these gains occurred while the animals had a decreased amount of food than they typically consumed prior to starting CLA supplementation. Their lean mass increased even though they were consuming less calories! This points toward CLA increasing feed efficiency and possessing certain nutrient partitioning effects. Although these studies were performed on animals, the outlook seems promising for human trials to come.
CLA also possesses anticarcinogenic and antioxidant benefits as well. Studies have shown that supplementing with CLA increases the anti inflammatory response by increasing the signaling of interleukin-1 (IL-1). IL-1 and other cytokines play a vital role in the regulation of the inflammatory and immune systems of the body and their response to infections. So, not only will CLA help you pack on muscle, itll also help keep you healthy so you can keep working out to the best of your ability!
Benefits of Conjugated Linoleic Acid
Increase lean body mass
Reduce fat mass
Utilize fat as an energy source
Lower cholesterol and triglycerides
Enhance immune system
Typical CLA supplements come in doses ranging from 600mg to 1000mg and advise taking 1 to 3 times per day. Studies conducted with CLA have used dosages ranging from 3-9g/day to see the various benefits touched on earlier. As always, start on the lower end of the spectrum and assess tolerance before increasing the dosage.
Is Conjugated Linoleic Acid for you? If youre interested in gaining muscles, losing fat and improving your overall health, they CLA is definitely a supplement you want to consider taking. More and more research is on the way detailing the numerous benefits that this potent fatty acid has to offer. Fats no longer are relegated to the shadows as leading to obesity and heart disease. They are vital to overall health and wellness. Dont miss the train on this popular supplement and hop on it today before it leaves you in the dust. Your health and muscles will thank you.