Fighting Fat with Fat Makes Sense with Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)
Substances that enhance human health and wellbeing can be discovered in all sorts of odd places.
Take CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), for example. This unique fatty acid currently under intense study as an aid to help dieters reduce body fat- was first isolated from grilled ground beef in the early 1980s by researchers at the University of Wisconsin. (CLA is also found in dairy foods.) Something found in hamburger that may actually help you slim down? Who knew?
What’s more, [easyazon_link asin=”B00GB85MZI” locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”realfoodsmake-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” popups=”yes”]CLA[/easyazon_link] (now generally derived from plant sources like sunlower oil) also shows promise in two important areas.
First, evidence suggests it can slow down some of the steps in cancer’s complex progression. In addition, CLA may help tame excess inflammation.
When you take in more calories through food than you burn off through exercise, all those extra energy units have to go somewhere and if you’re like a lot of folks, they wind up being deposited into your fat cells.
Not only are jam-packed fat cells responsible for the dreaded disappearing waistline effect, but they also promote unhealthy changes in blood pressure, cholesterol levels and other markers of possible hazards to your continued well-being.
CLA helps make life miserable for fat cells in several ways. First, it inhibits an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase that shuttles fat molecules from the bloodstream into the cells.
It encourages lipolysis, or the breakdown of fat that’s already in storage. Finally, in some studies CLA has shown an ability to actually encourage fat cells to commit a form of cellular suicide called apoptosis– which results in fewer places for fat to hide.
At the same time, CLA promotes the transport of fat into exercising muscle cells, helping them both burn off calories and become more toned (and shapely).
While CLA is the subject of ongoing research, early human trials have produced promising results. In Norway, for example, scientists from five separate institutions teamed up for a study involving people who were healthy but overweight.
For the first year some of the individuals took CLA while the others took placebo (lookalike) softgels that contained olive oil instead; in the second year, everyone took CLA.
At the end of two years, all the people in this study showed significant reductions in body fat; body mass index (BMI), a standard measure of obesity, and weight Journal of Nutrition 4/05).
While battling the bulge is a major goal for many people, fending off cancer may just be America’s number-one health concern. And here, too, CLA has come up big in a number of studies, such as a Swedish investigation that shows a link between high CLA intake and reduced colorectal cancer risk (American journal of Clinical Nutrition 10/05).
In various lab studies CLA has been shown to interfere with tumor development and to keep cancerous cells from spreading to nearby organs.
What’s more, CLA appears to regulate immunity by helping to strengthen the body’s natural defenses while protecting against the inflammatory damage the immune response can cause.
That’s important because low-level inflammation has been linked to an ever-growing list of disorders, including cancer, cardiovascular disease and arthritis.
If you want to fight off both fat and cancer without eating a mountain of cheeseburgers, don’t have a cow. Turn to CLA instead.
ENERGY TIMES January 2006
Reprinted with permission