Americans are having trouble keeping the weight off. Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is a naturally occurring fatty acid that’s job is to turn the fats we consume into muscle and energy. CLA is not produced in our bodies, we must obtain it through the foods we eat or supplements we take. If we are not getting CLA in our diet, the dietary fat we consume is turned into new fat cells not the muscle and energy we desire.
Animal studies link CLA deficiency to obesity.
The December 2000 Issue of the Journal of Nutrition found that CLA reduces fat and preserves muscle tissue.
A Purdue University study found CLA improved insulin levels in about 2/3 of diabetic patents and moderately reduced blood glucose levels and triglyceride levels. CLA helps glucose get into muscle cells more effectively, stopping glucose from converting into fat.
Studies are showing that CLA may:
Increase metabolic rate
Decrease abdominal fat
Enhance muscle growth
Studies are showing that CLA helps:
Maintain normal cholesterol
Maintain normal insulin levels
Enhance immune system.
So, how can we get the CLA we need? CLA is found in red meat, lamb and dairy products. Unfortunately these products are all high in saturated fats which can lead to heart disease. Also any processed meats or processed dairy are stripped of their CLA. Beef and milk from cows contain CLA only if they have grazed on pastureland not in feed lots. The CLA content of the food in American beef, dairy, and milk has fallen since 1950. In the 1950’s farmers started using feed lots rather than pasture graze their cattle. In Australia where most beef is still pasture grazed the CLA content of pasture-fed beef is very high. In Ireland milk from grass fed cows is 2 to 3 times higher in CLA than milk from grain fed American cows. What this means is natural sources are hard to find.
Could this lack of CLA be linked to the American Weight Gain?
I know since hitting my 40’s my metabolism is much slower and my middle is increasing. If CLA can boost my metabolism, decrease my abdominal fat and maintain the muscles I have that would be HUGE!
CLA can be obtained as a supplement from health food stores and online pharmacies. It does not require a prescription, but it is always wise to let your doctor know what supplements you are taking. Some people have reported feeling nauseous after taking their supplement. If you find this to be true take your supplement with a little milk. No other side effects have been reported.