what is cla

Conjugated Linoleic Acid: What is CLA?

Short for Conjugated Linoleic Acid, CLA is a common supplement to aid weight loss. But what is it? And how does Motion Nutrition’s Slimline CLA differ from conventional supplements?
The good fat you’re probably not getting

What is CLA?

CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) is essentially a type of polyunsaturated, omega-6 fatty acid. In other words, it’s technically a trans fat — but a natural type of trans fat that occurs in many healthy foods, mainly meat and dairy. It’s one of those things labelled as a good fat, and rightly so. It is also a popular dietary supplement that is sold with claims of helping people lose fat, maintain weight loss, retain lean muscle mass, and control type 2 diabetes - the type of diabetes that is often associated with obesity. More on these benefits later! The level of conjugated linoleic acid found in these foods greatly depends on several factors such as the animal’s welfare and especially it's feed. Grass fed animals will yield foods with much greater nutrient density, such as in our Classic Whey Protein. In fact, the CLA content in grass fed cows compared to grain fed cows can be up to 5 times higher. Another point to bear in mind is that low-fat dairy will be very low in CLA, since the fats have been removed. Take note: low fat is not always a healthier option!* The average adult’s daily intake of CLA varies greatly depending on their diet, but the average intake in the US is about 151 mg per day for women and 212 mg for men. A diet low in grass-fed dairy and meat, such as a vegetarian or a vegan diet, is likely to lack in CLA. Because it is considered an essential fatty acid (i.e. your body does not produce it naturally) these diets will benefit the most from CLA supplementation.
CLA content grass fed cows The CLA content in free-roaming grass fed cows can be up to 5 times higher than in grain fed cows.

Can It Aid Fat Burning and Weight Loss?

CLA led analysis by Kris Gunners (BSc) noted that the biological activity of CLA was first discovered by researchers who noted that it could help fight cancer in mice. Later, other researchers determined that it could also reduce body fat levels and as obesity increased worldwide, interest grew in CLA as a potential weight loss treatment and now CLA is one of the most studied weight loss supplements in the world. In fact, CLA has been studied extensively in randomised controlled trials, the gold standard of scientific experimentation in humans. One groundbreaking study conducted by Jean-Michel Gaullier, PhD, with the Scandinavian Clinical Research Group found the direct results on weight loss associated with taking CLA. Gaullier's study involved 180 overweight men and women, all between 25 and 30 BMI (body mass index). A BMI - an indicator of body fat - over 25 has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and other medical problems, such as diabetes. The volunteers were mostly female - 149 women and 31 men. They volunteers were randomly assigned to three groups. The two groups taking CLA got either the typical off-the-shelf pills (4.5 grams of 80% CLA) daily or the syrup formulation (3.6 grams of 76% CLA disguised in a capsule) daily. The third group took a placebo capsule filled with olive oil daily. Volunteers were not required to change their diet or exercise habits and daily calorie intake was similar among the three groups. All volunteers reduced their calorie intake a little during the study, he reports and all got about the same amount of exercise. This strongly suggesting the observed effects of CLA on body composition were independent of diet.

Several times during the 12-month study period, volunteers had their weight, BMI, and blood checked. They also completed questionnaires on their diet and exercise in the previous two weeks.

At the end of one year:

  • CLA groups lost weight -- about 4 pounds; the placebo group stayed the same.
  • The CLA groups had 7% loss; the placebo group had no body fat loss.

  • CLA groups had improvements in muscle mass.

"The results of this study corroborate and expand on the findings of the previous short-term studies," Gaullier concluded. His results also showed that "the effect is greatest in those with highest body mass index," especially women with a 25 to 30 BMI and CLA may trigger fat cell death, shrink fat cells, or it may speed up metabolism to promote weight loss.

Numerous other studies also indicate that CLA can cause significant fat loss in humans as well as other benefits such as: improved body composition by reducing body fat, increasing muscle mass, prevention of heart disease and several types of cancer. Animal studies too suggest that CLA can reduce body fat and in mouse studies it was found to reduce food intake, increase fat burning, stimulate fat breakdown and inhibit fat production.

Slimline CLA: not all supplements are created equal

CLA is a common supplement used to enhance fat metabolism, meaning you’re likely to burn more fat while taking the supplement. But here at Motion Nutrition, we’re not so keen on settling for common things: we prefer to enhance them. We’ve added green tea extract to our capsules, because it complements CLA’s metabolic boosting properties. We’ve also included wild kelp, a seaweed which is the highest natural source of iodine, known to be a strong metabolic booster. To top it all off, we’ve enhanced our capsules with piperine. Piperine is a black pepper extract which enhances thermogenesis. It will raise your body temperature, further intensifying the supplement’s beneficial effects on energy usage. Find out more about our Enhanced Motion range of supplements here. Slimline CLA
*A side note on whey protein. Whey protein isolate is a ‘low fat’ variant of whey protein. Just like with any other dairy product, this means that in its isolate form, whey protein will be lower in many beneficial nutrients. This of course includes conjugated linoleic acid. As a matter of fact, it is currently impossible to manufacture Organic whey protein isolate. Indeed, the chemical treatment required to refine the powder to an isolate form is too harsh to meet Organic Standards. Here at Motion Nutrition, we only sell Organically Certified Whey Protein Concentrate.