Fat Burners Under the Microscope!
Fat Burner #10: CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid)
What is it?
Often overlooked as a fat-loss supplement, it's only recently begun to be touted as one of the most underrated supplements on the market. For that reason, CLA might be worth taking a second look at. Over two decades of research have shown CLA may significantly help reduce bodyfat, and there's even recent evidence to support that it increases muscle tissue. Primarily, though, athletes and people who are weight conscious have begun supplementing with CLA because it's been shown in research to significantly shift body composition in favor of fat loss and muscle gain.
How it works
When leading CLA researcher Michael W. Pariza from the University of Wisconsin-Madison was asked, "How does CLA work?" he replied, "In a general sense, what it's doing is keeping little fat cells from getting big... perhaps by blocking certain enzymes that let fat cells swell."
Leading researchers have suggested that CLA's body-composition-altering effects are likely due to its ability to regulate the metabolism of fat through a fairly complex process having to do with our bodies' enzymes (namely, lipoprotein lipase and hormone-sensitive lipase). The long and short of it is that CLA appears to block fat uptake and then increase the speed of fat burning.
What does the science say?
Recently, Ola Gudmundsen of Scandinavian Clinical Research presented a study that suggests CLA could help people lose weight, primarily by reducing overall fat mass. In this groundbreaking study, 60 overweight people who were not allowed to diet were randomly assigned to take either a nine-gram placebo of olive oil or 1.7 grams, 3.4 grams, 5.1 grams, or 6.8 grams of CLA daily for 12 weeks. Their body composition was measured at the start, middle, and end of the study. "We saw that they had a significant reduction in weight in the CLA group," says Gudmundsen, "...about 2.2 lbs in 12 weeks." Even more promising, the researchers found that this loss was overwhelmingly from bodyfat and didn't affect overall weight or body mass index.
Another supportive study, conducted by Thom Erling, Ph.D., measured subjects' bodyfat and bodyweight over a three-month period. In this double-blind, placebo-controlled study, the first group took CLA at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The second group took a placebo. At the end of three months, the CLA group lost an average of five pounds, which was not considered statistically significant. But, their bodyfat dropped by an impressive 15% to 20% compared to the placebo group who experienced little change.
In a brand new study presented at the Experimental Biology meetings this year, scientists gave mice either CLA or CLA plus the herbal stimulant guarana (which contains caffeine). What was interesting is that although the CLA group dramatically reduced the adipocyte (fat cell) size, the CLA plus the addition of guarana reduced the fat cells by an incredible 50%in just 6 weeks. Can you use just a plain old cup of coffee and CLA for the same effect? The answer unfortunately is no. The caffeine in most drinks only has a short-lived boost, while guarana gives an extended release, thus benefiting you for many hours.
How to take it
Most researchers agree 3,000 mg (three grams) divided into three dosages per day with meals is necessary for fat reduction. On the bonus side, 3,000 mg to 6,000 mg (three to six grams) divided into three dosages per day with meals has been shown in recent studies to help induce muscle-tissue growth.
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