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The Bodybuilding Professor

Bryan Haycock MSc

Bryan haycock is an exercise physiologist, university instructor, writer, and consultant for the bodybuilding industry.

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Benefits of CLAs

Personally I like conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). Unlike stimulants that have a lot of unwanted side effects, CLA can (and should) be used chronically for best effect. CLA has a number of beneficial effects that are only really seen when used for long periods of time.

CLA increases fat oxidation. This is most likely by acting as a PPAR-alpha agonist. Peroxisome proliferatoractivated receptors (PPARs) are key regulators of lipid homeostasis and are activated by compounds including fatty acids, eicosanoids (prostaglandins), and hypolipidemic drugs (fibrates). Evidence is mounting that indicates that PPARs serve as physiological sensors of lipid levels and provide a molecular mechanism whereby dietary fatty acids such as CLA alter fat cell metabolism. CLA supplementation has been shown to decrease the enzyme necessary for fat cells to take up fat and triglycerides from the blood. Carnitine palmitoyltransferase activity is increased by dietary CLA supplementation in both fat and skeletal muscle, thereby increasing the  apacity of these tissues to oxidize fatty acids. At the same time, lipoprotein lipase activity is decreased, thereby decreasing the ability of fat cells to take up lipids from the blood.

Chronic intake of CLA increases basal metabolic rate. It’s a mild effect in humans, but over time, it significantly inhibits fat gain. Again, the most likely mechanism is PPAR-alpha agonism. In studies with human subjects, the most pronounced effects of chronic CLA supplementation is a prevention of fat regain. This means that after subjects have lost fat through dieting, CLA significantly prevents the fat from coming back once they resume a more normal eating plan. For these reasons, I’ve used CLA on and off for several years and plan on continuing as the situation merits.