In our effort for weight loss, we often wonder if there is a nutrition supplement that might help us. Among them, are CLA and Lecithin. We have heard so much about both and information keeps coming from everywhere! What really do they and which can help us?
CLA and Weight loss
CLA: What is it?
CLA or otherwise conjugated linolenic acid is an omega-6 fatty acid, which has been studied extensively for its contribution to fat burning.
Generally, fat consumed with food and not used for energy is stored in fat cells. With CLA, a large part of it – mainly triglycerides – is diverted to the muscle cells for burning (1).
Many studies show that there may be potential benefits of taking CLA (2-6 g per day) in body composition in overweight and obese individuals (2), but there are others who disagree.
Most studies focus on the percentage of body fat that appears to be reduced by taking CLA. The decrease is mainly observed in the fat accumulated in the abdomen, while CLA also helps to muscle mass maintaining, which usually decreases when someone is on a diet.
In fact, research in Greece showed that taking 0.7-1.4g CLA daily for 4-8 weeks seemed to be able to regulate body fat, as well as serum lipids, e.g. cholesterol and triglycerides (3).
Very interesting is the fact that in individuals with healthy weight that were exercising, it was observed almost the same percentage of body fat reduction with a much lower dose of CLA (1.8g / day) within 12 weeks. However, there was no change in their weight (4).
Lecithin and Weight Loss
Lecithin: What is it?
Lecithin is a phospholipid that is commonly found in our body and consists of choline and inositol. It is a component of our cell membranes, so it is found in our brain, neural and muscle cells.
Lecithin is widely used as an emulsifier. This means it has the ability to keep fats dissolved in water. So in our body, if we consume lecithin, it breaks down fats into smaller molecules, making them easier to metabolize and convert into energy rather than stored in the body. It also prevents them from sticking to the arteries, thus preventing atherosclerosis.
Lecithin and cholesterol
In addition, thanks to lecithin, it is much easier for fats that break down in water to be removed from the body. As a result, there is often a decrease in cholesterol and triglyceride levels when one is taking lecithin. Relative research has shown a significant reduction in total cholesterol and LDL (bad cholesterol) by taking 500 mg of lecithin for 2 months (5).
Generally, lecithin helps to prevent fat from food to accumulate in our body, as it helps in metabolising it faster. However, it has not been shown to have a particular effect on subcutaneous fat (i.e., the fat located just below our skin).
Both lecithin and CLA have several benefits to offer us. Focus on your own needs and decide if either of them suits you!