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Conjugated Linoleic Acid and Weight Loss

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Dry hair, hair loss and slow healing wounds are all signs of a deficiency or lack in your body of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). This essential amino acid is part of a group of unsaturated omega-6 fatty acids.

Dietary Sources of CLA

Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) is not manufactured by the human body so we are dependent on getting it through our diets. Vegetable oils (olive, safflower, and canola), eggs, meat, dairy and cheese are dietary sources high in CLA content.


Low-fat foods contain less amounts of CLA than their higher fat, unaltered counterparts. The trend to low-fat eating, has resulted in many people now having a deficiency of conjugated linoleic acids in their diet.


Another reason for CLA deficiency in today's diets is due to farming practices that have changed over the years, moving away from grass fed animals and towards grain and factory fed ruminants. A recent study shows that grass fed animals have up to 500% more CLA in their systems than do grain feed animals. Therefore, in order to maximise the amount of conjugated linoleic acid you are consuming in meat, buy only free-range products. Free range meat products, including free-range beef, chicken, turkey and bison can now be found in most grocery stores.


CLA and Weight Loss

In the body, CLA increases lean muscle mass while decreasing body fats by interfering with the way the body stores fat. It also helps the body to use existing fat for energy. One of the leading scientists into CLA research, Dr. Michael Pariza of the University of Wisconsin, puts it this way “CLA does not make a big fat cell small it keeps a little fat cell from getting big”. Because of these properties, CLA is being used to enhance weight loss. Did you notice the word ‘enhance’. CLA supplements are not magic pills and do not in any way replace the benefits of a good diet and exercise, but when these three are combined there will be noticeable benefits for weight loss.


Recommended Daily Intake of CLA

The medical professionals figure we optimally need 3 to 4 grams (the equivalent of 1 teaspoon) of CLA per day. Interestingly, kangaroo meat has the highest CLA concentration of any human food source. However if you are not getting sufficient CLA from your diet, and it just isn’t possible to “throw another Roo on the barbee”, supplements are available. The most popular CLA dietary supplement is Tonalin CLA made from safflower oil. Tonalin is available on-line, in pharmacies and health food stores at around $20 for a months supply. Or you could take a teaspoon of vegetable oil a day for a fraction of the cost.


Health Benefits of CLA

Over 200 studies on CLA have been conducted worldwide and results show a definite promise in its cancer fighting properties, and ability to reduce tumor growth, for asthma and allergy control and in regulating blood sugar problems like diabetes. However Conjugated Linoleic Acid has not been given the golden seal of approval across the medical community for these applications because so many of the CLA trials have proven inconsistent and inconclusive.