It seems that everyone is looking for that magical panacea for successful weight loss. The reality is there’s no substitute for healthy eating habits supplemented with regular, intense exercise. Although there are some foods and supplements that have shown some promise in boosting the rate at which fat is burned, including green tea and caffeine, even these have not been conclusively proven to promote weight loss. One supplement that has demonstrated some positive benefit in promoting weight loss, at least in animals, is CLA or conjugated linoleic acid. When it comes to CLA and weight loss, this supplement, although promising in animals, still shows inconsistent effects in terms of weight loss in humans.
What is CLA and why might it be important in promoting weight loss? CLA is a component naturally found in dairy products such as milk and eggs, as well as meat products derived from grass fed animals such as cattle. It’s unclear as to the exact mechanism by which CLA causes weight loss, but it appears to be effective, according to some animal studies, at lowering abdominal body fat while preserving lean body mass.
What do the majority of CLA studies show? Animal studies have been pretty consistent at showing positive results from CLA in terms of weight loss. Studies in humans have yielded inconsistent results. A recent study conducted in Sweden on humans showed that participants who took 4.2 grams CLA supplements had a greater fatter loss than did the group given a placebo. Unfortunately, most of the other human studies have failed to show a significant effect of CLA on weight loss.
When it comes to CLA and weight loss, even more disturbing is that fact that some studies suggest that CLA may have harmful effects including an adverse effect on heart function related to its action on heart endothelial cells. Studies have also suggested that it may increase insulin resistance in humans.
When it comes to CLA and weight loss, should you consider using this supplement if you’re trying to lose weight? Since CLA studies show consistent weight loss benefit only in animals it would be premature to take this supplement for purposes of losing weight, particularly in light of the studies that show potential harm in terms of cardiovascular risk and an increased risk of insulin resistance. CLA supplements are currently sold in health food stores and are heavily promoted to body builders seeking to lose body fat while preserving lean body mass. Despite this, there’s little solid evidence that CLA is effective at doing this.
When it comes to CLA and weight loss, this may be one supplement you should hold off on until its safety and effectiveness and humans is proven.