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Old 06-09-2002, 02:59 AM   #1  
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Default Cla

Does anyone have any experience of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid)? It's marketed as Tonalin, among other names, here in the UK.

I get so tempted by the ideas of supplements, even though I don't really believe that any of them will work.
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Old 06-13-2002, 02:07 PM   #2  
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I've not taken it, and I don't know anyone that has. However, I found the following info which may be helpful.

According to Dr. Weil:

The current excitement about CLA stems from studies suggesting it may have powerful health benefits including the ability to strengthen the immune system, protect against certain types of cancer, promote cardiovascular health, and reduce body fat.

All of the supposed benefits associated with CLA are based on the results of animal studies. However, a recently completed study by the Agricultural Research Service, an arm of the US Department of Agriculture, found no significant, positive benefits when CLA supplements were tested in women over a three-month period.

Discussing the results, the researchers reported the women ate familiar everyday foods at mealtimes and for an evening snack, but before each meal took capsules containing sunflower oil as a control. For the second and third months of the study, 10 volunteers took 3.9 grams of CLA in capsules daily.

The researchers found no significant changes in more than a dozen indicators of immune system activity, no reduction in body fat, and no increase in muscle mass. And they saw no lasting changes in levels of leptin, a hormone linked to appetite control. (The researchers did find temporary decreases in leptin levels, which would have the effect of boosting, not reducing, appetite.) In addition, no changes were seen in blood fats, which are risk factors for heart disease.

The researchers noted that the amount of CLA used was comparable to levels given to animals in studies that had found health benefits. If you’re considering CLA for weight loss, you should also be aware of the results of a Swedish study reported in December 2000: After taking CLA for 64 days, participants experienced a reduction in body fat, although none lost weight. Many participants complained of nausea and had difficulty taking the required 12 capsules of CLA daily.


I don't normally quote Dr. Weil. Oddly, I can't find references it to this supplement in any of the usual places I check, such as the Mayo Clinic site, Intelihealth, WebMD, and other health sites that are considered reputable.

I did find something quoted in an article by the BEEF industry, as they were trying to promote the health benefits of beef (apprently CLA is found naturally in meat and dairy products, although in tiny quantities) They said:

In the latest study, 53 men and women were randomly assigned to either a CLA-treated group (Natural, Inc.'s Tonalin® CLA) or to a control group that received olive oil capsules. The CLA group experienced body fat reductions of 3.8% over the 14-week trial. Additional human studies on the body fat reduction aspects of CLA are anticipated in the next six months

I may be too cynical to comment on something like this. But this is what I'm curious about.... The control group reduced fat by 3.8% over 14 weeks. I'm assuming this was not in addition to any weight loss program. You can reduce your weight by more than that percentage with a diet and exercise program. If you took the CLA at the same time, it seems to me that the additional fat loss (if any) would be very small and negligable.

Most of the references I found stated that it's just too soon too tell with CLA, due to the lack of human research so far.

So the jury is still out. If you decide to try this, please keep us updated on your progress
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Old 06-15-2002, 06:09 PM   #3  
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Default CLA observations

I've been on the Body for Life program since August (down 34 lbs of fat, up 17 lbs of lean mass -- see the Diet Plans message board) and have used CLA during 2 periods of time.

Other than the expense, I think it's pretty harmless -- and it is actually a beneficial anti-oxidant.

Some studies have shown it to slightly improve fat loss or muscle gain, and it may be even more effective in a maintenance phase. There are some claims that it especially helps with fat accumulation in the upper body.

I took CLA for a month or two in the winter, and have now taken it for a week or two again. Both times my main observation has been a decrease in bra size. As someone who actually has more need to lose fat in the lower body, I may stop taking it again!

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Old 06-16-2002, 02:47 AM   #4  
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My MIL works for EAS and was trying to convince my DH to take it. He is on all sorts of meds for diabetes, so he took a bottle in to ask his dr about. She said it would be safe for him to take, but that it would not really do anything for his weight-loss. She did say it may help to lower his super high cholesterol, but that's about it.

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Old 06-18-2002, 02:36 PM   #5  
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Thanks for the info.
I think I will give it a try as I have been reading about the benefits with regard to arterial placque and cholesterol levels.
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Old 09-23-2002, 04:08 PM   #6  
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CLA improves insulin sensitivity. Though this is usually more of an issue for men. If you have blood sugar problems, this may be very beneficial. You may also want to try ALA.
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Old 10-01-2002, 12:26 PM   #7  
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I just read an article about CLA in Muscle & Fitness Hers. It was a pretty long article, but the gist of it was that CLA wasn't helpful in burning stored fat, but that it may help prevent regaining fat. Basically, the article said that there was no evidence that using CLA while you were trying to lose weight would help. However, after you reach your goal, using CLA may help prevent your body from regaining fat. For example, the article said that it might be helpful for people at goal to use during the holiday season when people are more likely to eat "bad" things. The recommended dose was something like 3 grams though, so i don't know how that would convert to the average supplement size. Hope this helps.
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Old 10-01-2002, 12:57 PM   #8  
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However - you need to take any articles regarding supplements published in fitness magazines with a HUGE grain of salt.

Remember that pretty much all of the fitness mags are owned by - guess who - supplement companies so of course their info is biased...

Muscle & Fitness/Muscle & Fitness Hers/Shape/Flex - all owned by Weider
Muscle Media/Energy for Women - owned by EAS
Oxygen/Muscular Development - owned by MuscleTech (makers of Hydroxycut)

Personally I enjoy reading the magazines for inspiration (photos) and workout tips as well as the occasional recipe, but I just ignore most of the 'BREAKTHROUGH SUPPLEMENT ARTICLES' as they are basically advertising...
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Old 10-01-2002, 09:14 PM   #9  
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CLA does improve insulin sensitivity, but as above it is probably more effective in men.

there are some health concerns because the rat study that they did showed enlargement of the liver, but the doses were VERY high and there were no other fatty acids in the diet.

CLA is probably of more benefit after menopause, where insulin sensitivity decreases.
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