Tonalin conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA, is an omega-6 fatty acid that is found in foods such as full-fat dairy products and grass-feed beef. Tonalin is a brand name of CLA. It’s usually taken in supplement form to enhance weight loss and improve body composition. Evidence indicates that CLA supplementation can provide numerous benefits. Consult your health-care provider, though, before you start taking CLA supplements.
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The main benefit of CLA supplementation is its ability to enhance weight loss. CLA increases the activity of carnitine palmitoyltransferase, an enzyme that transports fat into the mitochondria of your cells, where it’s burned as fuel. In fact, researchers at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health reviewed the scientific literature regarding the effect of CLA on fat loss. They concluded that 3.2 grams of CLA per day is effective for reducing body fat. Their research was reported in the May 2007 issue of the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.”
CLA supplementation may also reduce your risk of developing colorectal cancer, according to a study conducted by researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. They investigated the relationship between high-fat dairy food intake and CLA on colorectal-cancer risk. The scientists reported in the October 2005 issue of the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” that those who took CLA appeared to reduce their risk of colorectal cancer, even though they continued to eat high-fat dairy products.
Estrogen is the main hormone found in women. It's responsible for a number of functions, from normal development to maintaining bones. However, estrogen might also play a role in the development of breast cancer by increasing breast cell division. Scientists at Emroy University School of Medicine observed that human breast cancer cells exposed to CLA experienced decreases in signals that led to an increase in estrogen production, thereby reducing the growth of breast cancer cells. The findings were reported in the March 2004 issue of the “Journal of Nutrition.”
Safety and Side Effects
Concerns have been raised about CLA's effect on liver and kidney function. Scientists at VU University in the Netherlands, however, found that study participants who consumed 19.3 grams of CLA daily for three weeks experienced no adverse effects on liver and kidney function, according to research reported in the February 2010 issue of “Food and Chemical Toxicology.” Tonalin CLA may also raise your blood sugar, lower your HDL or good cholesterol and cause an allergic reaction with symptoms of rash, itching, trouble breathing or swallowing according to eMedTV.com.