Lose more weight -- CLA reduces body fat
by Jeff S. Volek, Ph.D., R.D.
Positive studies in animals suggesting that a special type of fat called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) was associated with reduced body fat levels inspired a large number of researchers to test the effects in people. The results of those studies have been pouring in for the last few years. Two more studies were recently published that both support CLA as an effective supplement to help shed fat pounds.
In the first study, women were randomly assigned to a CLA or placebo group for 16 weeks. The CLA supplement consisted of the isomers found in a typical CLA softgel (equal amounts of the isomers c9,t11 CLA and t10,c12 CLA). Each group took 4.2 grams per day of CLA or a placebo (olive oil). The CLA group had 4% lower total fat mass and 7% lower fat in the lower body compared to placebo.
In the second study, women were randomly assigned to both a CLA and a placebo group in a cross-over fashion. The CLA supplement consisted of the same isomer ratio as the other study, but the dosage was higher. Each group took 6.4 grams per day of CLA or a placebo (safflower oil). The CLA group showed greater weight loss and fat loss compared to the placebo group. The effects were most noticeable during the last 8 weeks of the 16-week supplement period.
Interestingly, in both these studies there was no instruction to change their diet or activity patterns. These two studies provide evidence that CLA supplementation at doses between 4.2 and 6.4 grams per day is effective at decreasing fat mass.