Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) Review

Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) is a Omega-6 fatty acid found in vegetable oils that have been shown in some studies to cause fat loss. It is also believed by some to have other health benefits. It is also an antioxidant and may have cancer-fighting properties such as lowering the risk of colorectal cancer and breast cancer, but more research is needed. Other possible benefits may be helping with dry skin and multiple sclerosis but the jury is still out on if it actually helps with these also. It can be taken in a pill form. There is no standard dose for CLA but dosages range from 1 gram to 3.4 grams daily (Keifer, 2014). Of the 28 different forms of CLA two are believed to be the most important for weight loss. These are “c9, t11” and “t10, c12”.

CLA is a polyunsaturated fatty acid, with both cis and trans double bonds so it is technically a natural type of trans fat. CLA sources are cows, goats and sheep. CLA from these animals is 300 – 500% higher if the animals are grass-fed instead of grain fed. Average intake in the U.S. is 151 mg per day from women and 212 mg from men (Gunnars, 2014).

Possible benefits shown from studies are increased fat burning, appetite suppression, stimulating fat breakdown and inhibiting the production. Some studies have also shown increases in muscle mass.

However, when taken in large doses studies have shown detrimental side effects such as increased accumulation of fat in the liver which can lead to metabolic syndrome and diabetes. Other side effects could be inflammation, insulin resisance, lower HDL (the good cholesterol), diarrhea, stomach pain, nausea and flatulence.

Doctors don’t recommend CLA for pregnant women, breastfeeding women or children. Also, if you are taking any medications you should check with your doctor for possible drug interaction problems especially if taking drugs for schizophrenia or other mental disorders.

Gunnars, Kris, 2015 CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid): A Detailed Review, Authority Nutrition,

Keifer, David, 2014, Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), WebMD,

Herb Gymnema may aid in weight loss

The herb Gymnema, which is a wood climbing shrub native to Africa and India, may aid in the loss of weight by blocking sugar absorption and tampering cravings for sugar, which is a major contributor to weight gain. Increases in the amount of insulin and increases in the growth of cells in the pancrease which is where insulin is made in the body may occur when taking Gymnema, and may help stave off weight gain.

Department of Biotechnology, 2012, The Saponin-Rich Fraction of a Gymnema sylvestre R. Br. Aqueuous leaf extract reduces cafeteria and high-fat diet-induced obesity,Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati India,

Group, Edward, 2015, Top 5 herbs for weight loss, global healing center,, 2015, Insulin and weight gain: Keep the pounds off,, 2015, Find a vitamin or supplement – Gymnema,,

Yogurt can be a healthy alternative to other snacks

Eating yogurt in place of other unhealthy snacks can help you lose weight and build muscle. Keep in mind though that all yogurts are not created equal. A serving of Greek yogurt can contain up to 20 grams of protein. Some less healthy yogurts can contain less than 8 grams of protein per 6 ounce serving. I would look for yogurts with 10 grams or more of protein and 20 grams or less of sugar. The calcium in yogurt can also signals your fat cells to produce less cortisol, making it easier for you to lose weight. Another benefit is yogurt often contains good bacteria that helps your digestive tract stave off intestinal infections and strengthen your immune system. For some of the more ambitious, you may want to make your own healthy yogurt. There are all sorts of recipes available depending on you personal tastes.

Vitamin D – Helpful in Burning Fat

According to Women’s Health certain nutrients can be helpful in burning fat and accelerating weight loss. Vitamin D can activate and switch and internally signal your cells to burn calories. Michael B. Zemel, PhD, who is the director of the Nutrition Institute at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville explained that when levels of vitamin D are low, parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels rise triggering a reactions that cause fat cells to convert sugar into fat and maintaining fat rather than releasing it to be burned. Also, vitamin D helps your body respond to insulin which is a hormone secreted from your pancreas. Insulin pushes glucose into cells. Glucose in body cells are burned for energy. So, the more sensitive your body cells are to insulin then the more glucose can be pushed into your bodies cells and burned. When you are less sensitive to insulin then the more likely you are to convert sugar to fat. Another aspect of vitamin D that is important is low levels of vitamin D interfere with leptin, which is a hormone that signals your brain that you are full and to stop eating, causing you to continue to eat.

Sunlight can provide vitamin D, however, too much sunlight can be bad as it may lead to skin cancer so it should be taken in moderation. Foods containing vitamin D cod liver oil – 1 tablespoon provides 1,360 IU’s, 3 ounces of cooked salmon 447 IU’s, milk 1 cup gives 115-124 IU’s. A table of foods and vitamin IU’s totals can be seen at Vitamin D Health Professionals A table is also available there for age/sex for the recommended daily allowances for vitamin D.

Women’sHealth, 2015, 7 Supplements that Melt Fat,

National Institutes of Health, 2015, Vitamin D Fact Sheet of Health Professionals,

6 Meals a Day vs. 3 Meals a Day

Contrary to what I’ve always heard 3 meals may be just as good for your weight loss as 6 meals. Two studies eating the same amount of calories over 6 meals instead of 3 meals doesn’t help lose weight by upping your metabolism. According to Kristen Kirkpatrick Rd the best way to lose weight is to cut the number of calories eaten each day. In fact eating 6 meals a day may actually cause you to gain weight from creating a desire for a person to eat more (Paturel, 2015).
Paturel, Amy, 2015, 6 Meals a day for weight loss, Aug. 18, 2015

Forming the habit of going to the gym

It seems the less you work out the less you want to work out, and the more you go to the gym the more you want to go to the gym. I have noticed over the years whenever I need to get back in shape the hardest part is simply forming the habit of working out again. So whenever I try to start up again. I have found it very useful to start very slowly with easy workouts then after about 3 weeks I am back in the habit of going to the gym and feel more like pushing myself. Many people often when starting to workout again really push themselves when they first start and then dread going back in. The gains will only come so quick so going hardcore from the very beginning doesn’t really help much more physically then just starting slowly with easy workouts. Also if you go hardcore in the beginning you are much more likely to experience and injury and then not be able to exercise that body part or exercise at all. Also, even if you are starting with easy workouts often you will start improving your eating habits which is also import. Diet combined with exercise is the best way to get the changes in your body that you are looking for. Working out too hard in the beginning, I don’t believe is a good way of starting out considering the dread of the gym and the more likely hood of quitting. Proper diet and exercise really needs to be long term and a change of lifestyle.