Friday, November 11, 2016
CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid): A Detailed Review
The main dietary sources of CLA are animal foods from ruminants, such as cows, goats and sheep.
The total amount of CLA in these foods varies greatly depending on what the animals ate (10).
For example, the CLA content is 300-500% higher in beef and dairy from grass-fed cows, compared to grain-fed cows (11).
Most people are already getting some CLA from their diet… the average intake in the U.S. is about 151 mg per day for women and 212 mg for men (12).
However… it’s important to keep in mind that the CLA you find in supplements is NOT derived from natural foods.
It is made by chemically altering safflower and sunflower oils, which are unhealthy vegetable oils. The linoleic acid in the oils is turned into conjugated linoleic acid via a chemical process (13).
The balance of the different forms is heavily distorted in supplements. Foods are mostly c9, t11, while the supplements are very high in t10, c12, which is never found in large amounts in nature (14, 15).
For this reason, CLA taken in supplement form does not have the same health effects as CLA gotten from foods.
Should You Take it?
Personally I don’t think losing a few pounds is worth the risk of increased liver fat and worsened metabolic health.
If you disagree and still want to take CLA supplements, then I recommend that you get regular blood tests to monitor liver function and other metabolic markers, to make sure that you’re not harming yourself.
Although CLA from beef and dairy is beneficial, taking “unnatural” types of CLA made from chemically altered vegetable oils seems to be a bad idea.
Having a six pack is great, but there are other better ways to lose fat that won’t give you fatty liver disease and diabetes in the process.