Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) is a group of chemicals that is produced from the fatty acid – linoleic. The major source of CLA is dairy products and meat.
The human body cannot produce this nutrient on its own accord, so we must harness this from the food we eat or dietary supplements. Years ago, we acquired this acid through our natural diet of beef and dairy products, but with the evolution and arrival of new farming and cattle feeding techniques which entails the cattle feeding on grain more than grass, there has been 3 to 5 times significant drop in the amount of CLA in our daily diet. Another factor affecting the amount of CLA we consume is our own dietary patterns and needs which have changed over time. Even though CLA is not a critical requirement of the human body and it can function healthily without it, an upward trend has been observed in the campaign of including CLA back into our diet due to its reported health benefits.
During research being undertaken in 1979, a possible anti-carcinogen was found in beef. Almost a decade after this, in 1987, this chemical was identified as CLA and the scientific community actively began investigating the effects of this chemical on the human body. Astonishingly, the outcomes of the research indicated that CLA helps develop our immune system to counter cancer and cardiovascular disease, possibly reduce our body’s fat deposits thereby helping in weight loss, and assist in combating inflammation.
Summarily, the potential benefit of CLA can be listed as follows:
- Positive growth in the body’s metabolic rate
- Reduction in the body’s natural fat deposits
- Increase in Muscle growth
- Reduction in the body’s cholesterol levels and triglycerides
- Possible reduction in allergic reactions from the body due to diet
- Healthy Immune System
There are still a lot of mysteries surrounding CLA, namely the controversial results for each of its reported benefits etc. The problem is that most of the studies regarding CLA are conducted on animals, with very few focusing on humans. That said, there is a lot of useful information that can also apply to human too.
For people looking to reduce weight, it is noteworthy that dietary supplements that include CLA are really quite effective. Research indicates that a dosage of 1.8 to 7 grams showed positive results in overweight members of the study.
In short, the jury is till out on CLA. But the evidence is gaining good ground about the many positive benefits it holds.