GLA (gamma linolenic acid) is known for its beautifying, fat-blasting, and disease-fighting benefits. But I can’t tell you about GLA without also telling you about GLA’s BFF, CLA.
What’s the difference between these two?
GLA raises your metabolism by stimulating brown fat (adipose tissue) in the body to burn calories for energy, while conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) targets visceral fat (found deep within the abdominal area) to powerfully burn belly fat while increasing lean muscle mass. I recommend taking this powerhouse duo together for full body fat-burning benefits.
When I think of how powerful CLA is, I remember a client that I worked with years ago. She was wheelchair-bound and had persistent belly fat she couldn’t seem to get rid of. I directed her to begin taking CLA supplements and merely one week later she was starting to see a noticeable whittling of her middle!
The Benefits Don’t Stop At Belly Fat
CLA has profound fat loss and healing benefits. A ready-made innate calorie burner, it helps reduce body fat while simultaneously retaining lean muscle mass. It’s also considered a necessary fatty acid for both cell growth and as a building block for cell membranes.
To date, there are over 500 published studies on this previously unrecognized nutrient. The first human clinical trial using CLA was conducted in 1997 in Norway. It was a 90-day double-blind clinical study that showed a stunning 20 percent decrease in body fat, with an average loss of seven pounds of fat in the group taking CLA.
These results were achieved without a single change in dietary habits, establishing CLA supplementation for the first time as a simple, effortless weight loss tool.
In addition to the ability to reduce body fat, CLA has also been shown to increase lean muscle mass. In this same study, although participants lost body fat, they experienced very little change in overall body weight due to the increase in lean muscle mass. The end result was a stronger, healthier body.
And, there’s more.
Over the past two decades, researchers have found that CLA also modulates the immune response, protects against heart disease, and inhibits the growth of various cancers. It may also prevent and control adult onset diabetes—a disease running rampant in our overweight country. And, because it helps prevent bone loss, CLA may also be a potent agent for preventing osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.
Sources of CLA
For those who are able to tolerate dairy without issue, CLA occurs naturally in grass-fed dairy foods—especially cream, butter and full-fat cheese. It’s also found in whey proteins made from grass-fed, non-denatured A2 milk protein, as well as in organic beef and lamb.
While adding grass-fed meats (and the right dairy, if you can) back into your diet is a fantastic idea for a variety of health reasons, I still recommend adding a CLA supplement that’s made from conjugated safflower or sunflower oil. This is because of its potency and convenience.
To put it into perspective, you would need to eat six pounds of steak or 50 slices of Colby cheese to receive the same amount of CLA found in most supplements.
I recommend one 1,000 mg softgel with each meal—for a total of 3,000 mg daily. Please be cautious to not take it too close to bedtime, as occasionally people have reported difficulty falling asleep when taken too late.
It’s also best to avoid taking CLA with fiber supplements or high-fiber meals because the fiber may absorb some of the CLA. To avoid this, take CLA about an hour after your meal or fiber supplement.