There’s been a lot of hype around CLA supplements lately. So Black Diamond Supplements decided to write a blog post answering the frequently asked questions around CLAs and explain in detail, what they are and what exactly they claim to do. Here are the questions we’ll be answering:
-What is CLA?
-How does it work?
-Just how effective is it?
-What are the side effects?
-Do I really need to take it?
If you walk into any supplement store, without a doubt, you will find CLA supplements.
This supplement is advertised as something that will boost your metabolism, better your body composition, and help build muscle mass and strength. So, to those who spend their lives in the gym, this sounds like the ultimate supplement, but let’s dig deeper and find out a little more background on this product.
CLA stands for conjugated linoleic acid, and you can find it in most meats and dairy. A lot of people think that if something is found in food that is a staple in most diets, then why would they need a supplement for it? Well, the average diet will only supply between 15-174mg a day, while the recommended and scientifically studied dose ranges between three to six grams a day. So is it worth buying or not? Read on to find out.
What exactly is CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid)?
According to a study by Whigham et. al, CLA is a natural component of fats from animals, and has been seen to have effects like anticarcinogenesis, antiatherogenesis, and changes in body composition.
In layman’s terms, it is supposed to fight the buildup of plaques in arteries, and fight cancer cells. CLA is used for cancer, “Hardening of arteries”, obesity, weight loss caused by chronic disease, bodybuilding, and limiting food allergy reactions.
A lot of places will group CLA with fat burners since a majority of people will use them for the effects on metabolism and the possible benefit for strength.
How does it work?
When taking CLA, the supplement will enter the bloodstream and it will help keep the small fat cells from sticking to the arteries, then when it comes into contact with larger fat cells, the CLA helps break it down into smaller fat cells and metabolize it into energy. All of this is what helps fight atherogenesis, and possibly benefit the heart. When it comes to the benefits for strength, there isn’t very many studies on it. The possible link, could be from the increased amount of energy that comes from the metabolized fat cells.
The Back and Forth on whether or not CLA really works.
Like many popular supplements, there’s a lot of hype that comes when studies show benefits. For example, Creatine is probably the most researched supplement out there and there’s still back and forth by professionals and experts regarding whether or not you should take it.
With CLA, you’ll find much of the same, and depending on who you follow, they’ll tell you different things. This is because when looking at the research, some studies will use animals to test the product and some will use humans, then some will show great results, and others will show little to no results.
What are the side effects?
In addition to the positive effects of CLA, you will find some potential negatives. With the human studies, there was evidence of an increased number of triglycerides and LDL-Cholesterol which is the “Bad Cholesterol” and a decreased amount of HDL- cholesterol which is the “good cholesterol.” These levels could suggest negative side effects down the road depending on the individual. Obese individuals also showed negative changes in glucose metabolism and insulin resistance in some studies.
Do I really need to take it?
The bottom line is it’s up to you. There have been a lot of potential health benefits for those who aren’t necessarily active. And for those who are, you have a better chance of seeing results.
To summarize the effects of the supplement into a few words, if you have the fat to lose, the better the results you are likely to see. If you currently take it, you’re likely to see greater results down the road.
If you’re not taking it and you want to try something new, then we do suggest trying it.
The hard truth people don’t usually like to hear is that everyone’s body is different and it will react differently to each individual. Meaning, results are likely to vary from person to person.
Like many new health supplements, we urge you to try it out and see for yourself. If it works then fantastic, you can officially add something new to your stack, but if it doesn’t suit your body composition and you don’t feel your best self or you don’t see results after an extended period of time, then it may not be right for you.