What is CLA and What's It Good For

Health & FitnessNutrition & Supplement

  • Author Nate Rodney
  • Published April 21, 2012
  • Word count 610

Conjugated Linoleic Acid or CLA can help you reduce body fat and prevent you from suffering from many diseases. Are you getting enough of it in your diet?

What CLA Does In Your Body

When you take in the required amount of CLA, your body is able to decrease the amount of fat that enters your cells. It does this by increasing the speed that your metabolism processes food and what it does with the nutrients that it takes from what you consume. With enough CLA, a fatty acid found in linoleic acid, your body takes the fat from the foods you consume and sends it through your bloodstream to your muscle cells and liver to provide energy.

When fat is sent to your muscle cells and liver, you benefit from increased energy because fat is processed more efficiently that way. If the fat gets stuck in other cells, it doesn’t produce the energy you need and it ends up accumulating into body fat.

How CLA Improves Your Health

Reduces Body Fat

Studies have found that sufferers of thyroid disease, who are overweight, benefit from CLA. Many of these individuals find that it decreases the body fat they have even though their thyroid is working against them.

While the CLA reduces body fat, it doesn’t reduce body weight. Instead, the weight shifts to muscle mass, which is another benefit of the fatty acid.

Decreases Cancer Risk

CLA has also been found to help people in all stages of cancer. Those who take in enough CLA are less likely to suffer from and die from the following cancers:

• Breast

• Colorectal

• Lung

• Skin

• Stomach

Animal studies have found that diets with .5 percent of CLA can result in the decrease of size in cancerous tumors by as much as 50 percent.

Decreases Osteoporosis Risk

Along with cancer, osteoporosis has also been seen as a benefit of CLA. Studies have found that women of menopausal age, who have consumed large amounts of CLA through cheese, have less of a chance of breast cancer and osteoporosis.

Prevents Heart Disease

CLA is also used to help people who are at risk for heart disease or suffer from it. It helps prevent atherosclerosis, which is the hardening of the arteries. This in turn, helps prevent heart disease.

Other Benefits:

• Lowers cholesterol and triglycerides

• Reduces insulin resistance

• Helps with allergies reactions from food

• Helps asthma

• Increases immune system functioning

How Much CLA Should You Consume?

Most people consume approximately 15-174 milligrams of CLA. To achieve maximum effectiveness of the fatty acids, individuals should have at least 3,400 milligrams a day. Grass-fed animals have three to five times more CLA than others, so buying organic meats and poultry should increase your CLA intake. High levels of CLA are also found in dairy, butter and eggs. Supplementing is another way to increase your intake of CLA. When purchasing supplements, it’s important to look for products with safflower oil. Capsules should contain 1,250 milligrams of oil, which translates to 1,000 milligrams of CLA. Those made of sunflower oil do not contain as much of the fatty acid to provide the amount needed to reach maximum effectiveness.

Side Effects

Some people report that they suffer from stomach upset, diarrhea, nausea and fatigue when taking large quantities of CLA. However, it is unknown how much they are consuming. People with metabolic syndrome should avoid CLA supplements as they can increase the risk of suffering from diabetes and worsen diabetes symptoms.

Contact Your Doctor

Whenever taking any new supplements contact your doctor. It’s important to know how CLA will respond to your body, drug interactions and side-effects you may experience due to health problems.

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