Who doesn't want a flatter stomach? I sure do. Ever since pop stars began baring their abs in the early 2000s and home workout DVDs promised us a washboard stomach, men and women of all ages have been in pursuit of the perfect waistline.
But the look of a flat stomach shouldn't be our focus. Carrying extra fat in the abdomen is detrimental to the health of the internal organs and increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes or heart disease or having a heart attack or stroke.
So you've tried everything and your stomach still won't smooth out? You've got a permanent crook in your neck from doing hundreds of crunches and if someone tells you to eat another bowl of kale you might scream? Thankfully, CLA has emerged as the natural supplement to try for whittling away at that waist to improve your health with the side benefit of a more toned physique.
What is CLA?
CLA is conjugated linolenic acid is a polyunsaturated fatty acid within linoleic acid. You mostly get CLA from meat and dairy products. If you're limiting your consumption of these foods, you're missing out on CLA. The most common supplemental source of CLA is safflower oil.
In addition to weight loss, research has also shown the benefits of CLA to include reduced cancerous tumors, lower cholesterol and insulin resistance, a boosted immune system and prevention of atherosclerosis. Testing continues to determine the exact benefits of taking CLA regularly.
CLA and Fat Loss
CLA encourages the body's cells to release the fat stored within them so the body can use this fat as energy and burn it off. In other words, it increases your metabolism. Your fat cells shrink in size to create more lean muscle mass, particularly in the abdomen. When your body is utilizing fat more efficiently as a source of energy, both stored fat and the fat we consume, you can build leaner muscles and prevent future weight gain. Best of all, CLA has no reported side effects.
Published studies have shown particularly impressive results in middle aged adults and post menopausal women -- both groups that can have a particularly difficult time losing excess weight. A 2001 study published in the International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders, taking 4.2 g (4,200 mg) of CLA daily helped reduce white adipose tissue in the abdomens of abdominally obese men after four weeks. A second study, which examined men and women who took 4 g or 4,000 mg of CLA a day for six months, saw a reduction in overall body fat mass. The study was published in 2007 in the British Journal of Nutrition was documented the CLA was well tolerated. Another 2007 study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found similar results with a dose of 3.2 g, or 3,200 mg, per day.
How to Take It
The average dose recommended is between 1,000 and 3,400 mg a day. For weight loss, 3,000 to 3,400 mg a day is recommended. It works best to split this amount into three doses and take them with meals. CLA is available in softgel form and has little to no aftertaste like other oil supplements. As with all natural supplements, CLA works best when taken as part of a healthy diet (going back to that kale) and exercise plan and takes time to build up in the body. Plan to take it for at least three months before you begin to see results.
If you're pregnant or breastfeeding or are being treated for a medical condition, it's important to check with your doctor before adding CLA, or any other supplement, to your routine. Individuals with diabetes shouldn't take CLA.
Ready to try CLA? Shop our full selection of CLA supplements at eVitamins and let us know how it goes!