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CLA - Conjugated Linoleic Acid - is not a new discovery as some magazines would have you believe. However, a better understanding of its effects are leading to potential applications that are extremely new and exciting. CLA was discovered by accident in 1978 by Michael W. Pariza at the University of Wisconsin while looking for mutagen formations in meat during cooking.
Although all the intricacies of CLA are not fully understood, it is widely accepted in the research community that CLA counterbalances the negative effects of linoleic acid and regulates fat and protein metabolism in animals. Pariza, director of the Food Research Institute at the University of Wisconsin said, "growing body of data indicates that CLA is a newly recognized nutrient that functions to regulate energy retention and metabolism". CLA can best be described as a "Growth Factor".
Food intake efficiency! CLA has been shown in animal studies to increase growth rate through increased feed efficiency. In controlled studies, animals that had their diets supplemented with CLA increased their body protein (muscle tissue) while at the same time, had a significant decrease in body fat. This all occurred in the CLA supplemented animals while their food intake was decreased. Their lean mass increased even though they were eating less! This indicates that CLA increases feed efficiency and also points to a potent nutrient repartitioning effect. This significant change in body composition can also be attributed in part to CLA's effect on immune function. When CLA levels fall, interleukin-1 and tumor necrosis factor-a are involved in the accumulation of body fat. CLA has been shown to inhibit the lean tissue wasting caused by high levels of these cytokines.
Actual human studies are on the way with anticipation of similar outcomes. CLA may be the most significant bodybuilding nutrient discovered in this decade. With anti-catabolic effects rivaling even the strongest pharmaceutical compounds, CLA is a naturally occurring nutrient with the ability to help you pack on lean muscle, reduce body fat and at the same time possesses health promoting properties.
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