Daily Dose of Conjugated Linoleic Acid: 1.8-7g
We’ve heard how essential fatty acids are good for the brain and the heart. Omega 3s are an example of one of these essential fatty acids that give these benefits to your most important organs. However, there is one that does all these things but also aids in fat loss. Conjugated Linoleic Acid, or simply just CLA, is a polyunsaturated fat that is essential for good health. Studies have shown that CLA may help people who are obese by lowering body fat and increasing muscle mass. CLA also helps people feel fuller after eating. Interestingly, despite all these benefits, evidence of it lowering BMI and causing weight loss is scant. It reduces fat but not weight, which we know is ideal when the fat is replaced by muscle.
CLA is also an antioxidant and may help in fighting cancer by stopping the growth and spreading of cancer cells. Women who have a diet high in conjugated linoleic acid have a lower risk of developing cancer of the colon or rectum, and even breast cancer. People who take CLA have shown to have lowered bad LDL cholesterol but since it also lowers good HDL cholesterol it isn’t used as a standard treatment. As mentioned earlier, CLA reduces body fat and increases muscle mass and that is why it is being used by bodybuilders. A 6 week research was conducted on 2 groups of novice bodybuilders, one taking CLA and one taking a placebo. The group taking CLA in combination with weight training showed an increase of muscle mass compared to the group who took a placebo.
Conjugated linoleic acid can be found in dairy products, beef (grass-fed beef have higher levels of CLA), eggs, sunflower oil, and safflower oil. Cooking may even increase levels of CLA. Supplements are also available. Obese patients have been given a range of 1.8-7g of CLA however there have been no additional benefits for doses greater than 3.4g.
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