Monday, January 15, 2007

New Research on CLA

Researchers from Norway reported this month in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that overweight patients given conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) experienced weight loss and favorable changes in body composition.

CLA is a dietary supplement, available (and popular) where ever such supplements are sold, consisting of a slightly altered form of omega-6 free fatty acids. CLA has been shown in several animal studies to reduce total body fat and increase lean body mass. However, in a prior randomized trial in overweight humans, no benefits were seen after 3 months of consuming CLA.

In the study reported this month, 180 healthy but overweight men and women, with body mass index (BMI) scores of 25 to 30 kg/m2, were randomized to receive either CLA (in one of two forms) or an olive oil placebo. (Note: a "normal" BMI is less than 25. Overweight is 25 - 29, and obese is 30 or over. All participants took 4.5 grams of the fat supplements to which they were assigned (i.e., CLA or olive oil) per day, and were also placed on a restricted calorie diet. At the end of 12 months, patients randomized to CLA (but not to placebo) showed a reduction in body weight and BMI, as well as a reduction in body fat mass and an increase in lean body mass. No significant side effects were seen, and the side effects that did occur were similar in both CLA and placebo groups. The most common side effects were gastrointestinal in nature.

Should you take CLA?
It is highly doubtful that this single, relatively small randomized trial is going to make any medical or dietary professional organizations jump on the CLA bandwagon. CLA is already quite popular out in the wild, and without stronger data, professional groups will be reluctant to feed the frenzy.
However, this new data is quite consistent with a much larger body of evidence from animal studies showing that CLA can provide favorable changes in body composition. This, and the fact that taking CLA appears (at this moment, at least) to be pretty safe, would make consuming the stuff seem a fairly reasonable thing to do.
But don't expect miracles - in this latest study, the average weight loss experienced with CLA in these overweight patients after a full year was less than 4 pounds, and the average drop in BMI was only approximately 0.5 kg/m2. Without a good diet and lots of exercise, taking CLA is not very likely to promote a noticeable change in your appearance or your health. There's still no magic.

If this has given you a taste to try CLA and kick start your weightloss efforts then be sure to visit a quality merchant to purchase CLA

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