Conjugated Linoleic Acid is a type of dietary fat. It may help you burn fat and offer health benefits. But what’s the best CLA supplement for fat loss?
It’s the number one golden rule of nutrition and preventing disease….
Avoid trans fats like the plague.
Trans fats are the result of “Frankenstein” food science. Created by an industrial process, the purpose of trans fats is to extend the shelf life of packaged baked goods. You’ll know if a food contains trans fat if “partially hydrogenated oil” is an ingredient.
But there’s always an exception to the rule. And Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) is it. And it’s a naturally-occuring trans fat that may help shrink your fat cells. There may be other benefits of CLA as well.
Best Sources of CLA
So where can you get CLA? Naturally, it’s in the digestive tracts of cows. So if you eat grass-fed beef, you’re in luck. Same goes for lamb, goat and buffalo.
Pork, chicken and turkey also contains it. But not as much as red meat. Dairy products are also rich in CLA.
The problem with only obtaining Conjugated Linoleic Acid from food is it may not be enough. You’d have to eat several servings of beef. Or drink several glasses of milk.
Obviously, getting adequate amounts from whole foods would result in binge-eating. Consequently, the several thousands of calories negates any possible fat-burning result of CLA.
Are vegans out of luck? Nope. Safflower oil contains linoleic acid. Unfortunately, it only contains small amounts of CLA.
Thus, if you’re trying to gain more lean muscle and lose more fat, you may want to take a supplement. But not all supplements are the same. Some are high-quality. But many are not. In light of this, what is the best CLA supplement?
Before naming actual brands and the best supplements, let’s disclose this first….
Research on CLA, an unsaturated fatty acid, is relatively new. There have been some studies supporting its use. But the evidence in humans is limited. To date, there has been no conclusive research to suggest this fatty acid reduces weight.
However, there is lots of anecdotal evidence that taking Conjugated Linoleic Acid as a supplement works. Just don’t expect it to work if you get little exercise and don’t eat healthy.
Benefits of taking CLA
If you do get your hands on the best CLA supplement, how can you expect to benefit?
According to this 2015 meta-analysis (a rehash of several studies) in Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, several positive things.
The research reviews the effects of CLA. Specifically, on its effects on body composition and metabolism.
Research suggests CLA can fight obesity. And, in general, it can be useful in the weight reduction process. Keep in mind, though, that these initial results are from animal studies. The good news is more recent research on people hints that it can indeed help overweight people. However, more research is needed to verify this.
Other possible benefits of taking the best CLA supplement include:
- Improving blood sugar levels
- Preventing or improving atherosclerosis
- Boost immunity
- Bone formation
- Enhanced muscular endurance and strength
Best CLA supplement on the market
How does a Conjugated Linoleic Acid supplement work? There’s a theory that it prevents glucose (sugar in the blood) from entering cells that store fat.
As you’re probably aware sugar that doesn’t get burned through exercise gets stored as fat. Thus, by blocking the entry of glucose, there’s not as much body fat.
Therefore, the best CLA supplement may reduce body fat. But not by lowering the number of cells that store fat. Rather, it’s due to the reduction in the size of the fat cells.
This brings us back to the question, “what is the best Conjugated Linoleic Acid supplement?” Which one will not only help reduce body fat but also increase insulin sensitivity? And which one can possibly protect against cancer?
Moreover, which one can lower the risk of artery hardening (atherosclerosis). And normalize cholesterol levels. Which supplement will strengthen the immune system?
It doesn’t matter what the supplement is. Not if you don’t know how much to take. The best CLA supplement for fat loss should be about 3 to 4 grams per day.
According to ConsumerLab.com, some supplements don’t contain the amount of CLA advertised on the label. If you get a subscription to ConsumerLab ($42 per year), you can read which brands passed their rigid tests.
This will help you avoid buying a low-quality supplement. In fact, ConsumerLab.com reports that less than 40% of the listed CLA in one product was provided.
Best CLA supplements to take
There are different CLA compounds. And that means that one CLA supplement can benefit you while another one may not. In addition, every supplement, even if it’s natural may produce negative side effects. However, the research on CLA is promising….
Consider this study. It compares supplementing with coconut oil, corn oil and CLA. Unfortunately, the study subjects are rats, not humans. Nonetheless, the rats are fed 4 different diets, with coconut oil and CLA being one of them.
After about a month, the rats fed coconut oil and Conjugated Linoleic Acid show improvement in several markers. Total cholesterol concentrations were lowest in the rats on the coconut oil and CLA diet. This suggests the best CLA supplement might not only help reduce body fat but also improve levels of fat in the blood.
Do your own research when selecting a supplement (such as joining ConsumerLab). But if you must know a couple best CLA supplements, this website recommends VitaDirect Premium CLA 800, Muscle Pharm CLA 1000 Softgels as well as other brands.
However, according to the ConsumerLab report, Muscle Pharm’s CLA Core claims to have 1,000 mg of CLA per softgel. When in reality, each softgel is only 38.5% CLA. “Consumers might expect more CLA from this product than it contains,” the report says.
Another supposed best CLA supplement is Primaforce Max CLA. But ConsumerLab reports it only contains about 85 percent of its listed CLA.
To get the most cost-effective and trustworthy source of CLA, ConsumerLab recommends Vitacost Tonalin. It’s only 45 cents per serving.