Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) - The Muscle PhD

Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)

Whenever you look at the physiques of your bodybuilding role models, it seems like any food they consume would automatically get transported into their muscles to go toward their gains.

Think about Lawrence Ballenger. If he eats Oreos, they’ll get digested rapidly, and after a bit you can see his veins pop–all the nutrients go directly to his muscle and he gets a pump. The fat in the middle of the Oreo doesn’t actually get stored as fat, it gets partitioned towards the muscle.

If you’ve thought about that, you’re not actually that far from the truth. Nutrient partitioning is a process where you partition your nutrients to go to the muscle and not be stored as fat. While there are some who can do this naturally, others can get closer to doing so using conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).

What Is Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)?

CLA is a polyunsaturated fatty acid, meaning that it’s liquid at room temperature. The reason for that is that acids are formed from bonds of carbons bonded to hydrogens, and fatty acids are long chains of hydrocarbons.

When carbons double bond, that gives the fat more of a fluid quality; if you have one or more double bonds, it becomes a polyunsaturated acid. CLA has one single bond between two double bonds.

Conjugated linoleic acid pills

Can CLA Boost Metabolism?

The main thing you need to understand is that CLA can be a good nutrient partitioning agent that can have great effects in boosting fat metabolism. Normally, when fat is circulating around the blood, an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase chips the fat off and causes it to get stored as fat in the body.

CLA actually inhibits lipoprotein lipase and stops it from performing the process that removes fat from the blood and partitions it into fat tissue. As a result, it becomes much harder to store fat globules as fat tissue.

That’s not the only benefit that CLA has.

Can CLA Support L-Carnitine?

We’ve previously highlighted the benefits of L-carnitine and described how it is necessary for transporting fat into the mitochondria to be burned for energy. Did you know that studies show that CLA can help increase the numbers of carnitine proteins available to transport fatty acids into the mitochondria?

Studies show a low to moderate impact of CLA on fat burning, anywhere from 0.2 to 0.45 lbs of fat lost per week on CLA, depending on your dose. Three grams a day will help you lose 0.2 lbs/week, while 6g/day will help you lose 0.45/week.

We recommend taking 6g of CLA per day if you’re in your shredding cycle or if you’re trying to be lean in general.

You might think that CLA provides a negligible boost to your weight lose journey. However, you need to think about things in the long term. If you gain a very little amount of fat a day, it can add up to a huge amount of fat gained in year! The opposite is also true.

Small changes over time can add up to big changes over a lifespan. If you’re only doing bodybuilding as a hobby and not as a lifestyle and passion, you’re never going to see the long-term goals you set for yourself come to fruition.

Can CLA Raise Testosterone?

Bodybuilder using CLA to burn fat

Studies have shown that CLA is indeed a good supplement for raising testosterone, simply because CLA inhibits the conversion of testosterone to estrogen. Since testosterone is an anabolic hormone that can help with your gains, that’s a plus.

CLA can help raise your testosterone levels a little bit higher, making you harder and denser after your gym sessions.

Summary and Recommendations on Conjugated Linoleic Acid

To sum up, CLA is indeed a good nutrient partition agent, it’s been shown to raise your testosterone levels, and it may help you with fat loss. However, you’ll only lose a very small amount of extra fat per week. The great thing is that since CLA is an inhibitor, not a stimulant, you can see some huge long-term effects.

We recommend taking 3-6g a day, only taking 6g if you’re actively trying to get leaner.

We hope this article helped you understand how you can use CLA to improve your bodybuilding journey. We’ll see you again soon!

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