The ABC’s of CLA

Studies suggest that CLA has many benefits.

Linoleic acid belongs to the omega family of fatty acids, which perform vital functions in the body and are necessary for optimal health and physical condition. The conjugated form of linoleic acid, also known as CLA, is a combination of the different forms in which linoleic acid occurs in nature. It may be beneficial in numerous health conditions, including heart disease and cancer, and may reduce body fat.

Increased Metabolic Rate
CLA assists in the use of body fat as a source of energy, and studies in which animals were fed diets high in CLA resulted in an increase of energy expenditure and a decrease in body fat levels. In addition, CLA appears to prevent the decrease in metabolic rate usually associated with a decrease in caloric consumption. The benefits of CLA for fat-loss are thus twofold, both assisting in the metabolism of stored body fat for fuel and preventing the metabolism from slowing down while on a diet.

Cancer Prevention
CLA may help protect the body from cancer formation and progression. According to Cornell University and the National Academy of Sciences, “…CLA is the only fatty acid shown unequivocally to inhibit carcinogenesis in experimental animals.” CLA is thought to exert this anti-cancer effect by increasing the body’s ability to absorb fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A and D, through regulation of the production and growth of new cells, and through its effects on prostaglandins, which are chemicals that regulate cellular function. Animal studies have shown that small amounts of CLA in a diet can reduce tumors and the chance of tumors by up to 50 percent when compared to animals that do not have CLA in their diet.

Heart-Disease Prevention
Because CLA facilitates the use of stored fat as energy by the body, it may help prevent and treat certain types of heart disease, such as atherosclerosis. According to the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, CLA prevents the deposition of plaque and lipids in arteries, a key factor in the development and progression of heart disease. CLA may also help prevent heart disease by acting as an antioxidant and by lowering blood pressure.

Insulin Resistance
While it is not helpful to anyone that suffers from Type 1 diabetes, otherwise called insulin dependent diabetes, CLA is shown to prevent and improve Type 2 diabetes, also known as adult onset diabetes or insulin resistant diabetes. According to mercola.com, it mimics diabetic drugs, but it is a natural substance rather than a synthetic one.

CLA is found mainly in dairy products and also in red meat, poultry, eggs. Have grass fed beef and organic dairy products to get your CLA. It is important to note that if the CLA is coming from beef, only small amounts are needed for the benefit. Moderation is always the key.