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CLA reduces body fat and improves body mass index
CLA helps manage weight
CLA, or conjugated linoleic acid, has a growing body of evidence demonstrating its ability to reduce body fat. In a study, 63 people tending toward overweight or obesity took 1,700 mg of CLA per day, or a vegetable oil placebo, in about 7 ounces of sterilized milk. After 12 weeks, while there were no changes for placebo, the CLA group had lost body weight, improved body mass index score, had less total fat and fat under the skin, a lower percentage of body fat, and a smaller waist-to-hip size. The higher the body mass index at the start of the study, the larger the improvement in all measures.

Reference: Nutrition; 2012 May; Vol. 28, No. 5, 559-65


CLA can reduce body fat and prevent holiday weight gain
The holiday season is often a time for weight gain for many people. In one study involving 49 overweight, but otherwise healthy adults aged 18-44, supplementing with CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) for six months from July to December reduced body fat and prevented weight gain during the holiday season from November to December. Subjects were randomized to receive either 3.2 grams/day of CLA or a placebo. After six months, those who took CLA had reduced their body fat by 2.2 pounds, while those who took the placebo had no change. Moods significantly improved for those taking CLA as well, compared to baseline reports. Between the two groups, there were no significant changes in resting metabolic rate, physical activity, dietary intake, insulin resistance, blood lipids, markers of liver function or general markers of inflammation. However, for the CLA group, there was a significant decrease in the biomarker of endothelial dysfunction, thought to be a key element in the development of atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. Considering that existing research shows even small increases in weight over the holiday period contribute to overall weight gain by adults, and considering 65% of adults in the U.S. are overweight or obese, the results of this study are promising.

Reference: International Journal of Obesity: 2006; Vol. 31, No. 3, 481-7.


Seniors stronger with selenium, creatine and CLA
Seniors with higher selenium levels had stronger muscles than those with lower levels, and older adults who took creatine and CLA along with exercise had stronger, leaner muscles and less fat compared to placebo, in two new studies. In the selenium study, doctors noted that muscles need selenium to function properly, but that there are no studies on how selenium affects muscle strength. Researchers examined 891 men and women aged 65 or older who had taken part in the “Chianti” community-based study in Tuscany, Italy. 

Scientists measured blood-plasma levels of selenium and found that on average, selenium levels were 24% below the minimum doctors believe is necessary to produce enough selenoproteins, the antioxidant enzymes that keep muscles healthy. Researchers also measured hip flex strength, hand grip strength and knee extension strength, and found that participants with the highest selenium levels—those in the top 25%—were 41% more likely to have strong hips and 48% more likely to have strong hand grip and knee extension compared to participants with the lowest selenium levels, who were in the bottom 25%. In the creatine/linoleic acid study, researchers recruited 19 men and 20 women, aged 65 or older, who had supervised resistance exercise training twice per week for six months while taking 5 grams of creatine monohydrate plus 6 grams of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) per day or a placebo. Scientists measured walking, balance, sitting, standing and stair climbing and found that both groups improved, but that the creatine/CLA group had greater muscle endurance, stronger knee extensions, more lean muscle (fat-free) mass and had lost more fat than the placebo group, without side effects. 

Reference: Public Library of Science Hub for Clinical Trials. 2007 Oct;2(10):991.


CLA burns fat while you sleep 
Overweight adults who took conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) burned more calories from body fat while sleeping, in a new study. Researchers from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, recruited 23 otherwise healthy but overweight men and women with a body mass index (BMI) of 25 to 30, aged 18 to 44, to take 3.2 grams of CLA per day at breakfast or a placebo for six months. To accurately measure how much and what types of energy participants burned, doctors placed each man and woman inside a special sealed monitoring room called a metabolic chamber for 24 hours at the start and end of the study. After six months, those who had taken CLA burned an average of 4 grams more body fat while asleep than they had at the start of the study, while those in the placebo group burned 7 grams less. Those in the CLA group also burned 3.3% less energy from protein while asleep compared to the start of the study, while the placebo group burned 0.3% more. Compared to the start of the study, the placebo group burned an average of 43 fewer calories while asleep, while there was no change in the CLA group. Doctors noted that those who took CLA also burned more body fat while awake, but that this result was not statistically significant. This is one of the first studies to measure over a 24-hour period how CLA burns fat. Earlier studies measured shorter periods of time, did not use a metabolic chamber and did not monitor sleeping hours. Doctors said the study confirmed that CLA burns body fat rather than fat from the diet.

Reference: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: 2007, Vol. 86, No. 3, 797-804.

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