CLA has been shown to help regulate how the body uses adipose tissue (fat), making it useful in the fight against obesity. Although studies haven't been conclusive as to the precise role this acid plays in weight loss, a group of researchers from the Pennington Biomedical Research Center believe CLA helps assist the body in using fat as an energy source. Lab animals which were fed a diet high in CLA had decreased body fat levels than animals who consumed a regular diet, and also exhibited a greater energy expenditure. The study also showed that CLA can prevent the metabolism from slowing down as a result of being in a calorie-restrictive diet.
A study published by the National Academy of Sciences shows that CLA is beneficial in inhibiting carcinogenesis in lab animals, therefore preventing many forms of cancer. The researchers attribute this to CLA's ability to enhance the body's absorption rate of vitamins A and D, both of which stimulate the growth of new cells.
CLA helps the body to burn stored fat as an energy source, meaning it may be able to treat certain types of heart disease. Researchers at Pennington Biomedical Research Center discovered that CLA prevents plaque and lipids from building up inside the arteries, therefore slowing the progression of heart disease. It may also work to prevent this condition by lowering blood pressure and destroying free radicals due to its antioxidant properties.
A study involving 76 participants who partook in regular resistance training were given CLA supplement for a period of 7 weeks, and were instructed to weight train for 3 days per week. After the 7-week trial, it was found that lean muscle mass had increased at a higher than normal rate, and there was also a greater reduction in body fat. While taking the supplement, it was also discovered that the participants were able to bench press a higher amount of weight than they normally could without the supplement. Numerous related studies have proven that CLA has a marked catabolic effect on muscle protein, which explains the extra muscle mass gained in the initial study.