Tonalin, also known as Tonalin CLA, is a dietary supplement that is used for weight loss. Also, it is an exclusively licensed product of Cognis Nutrition and Health, a division of specialty chemistry company Cognis Group. The "CLA" suffix is an acronym for conjugated linoleic acid. This is a term that applies to 28 naturally occurring, non-saturated fatty acids commonly found in meat and dairy products such as lamb, beef and milk. Tonalin is derived from natural safflower oil.
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CLAs such as Tonalin were first discovered in 1979, when medical researchers from the University of Wisconsin discovered the lesser number of tumors in mice injected with a beef extract in addition to exposure to a strong carcinogen, in comparison with mice exposed to just the carcinogen. It wasn't until 1987, however, that Michael Pariza, with two other researchers, identified the anti-carcinogen as CLA.
Uses and Recognition
By the mid-2000s, publications such as "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" presented reports that suggested that CLA can also be used to treat cardiovascular disease and inflammation. Tonalin CLA, however, in particular is used to reduce body fact by up to 10 percent. The supplement is also meant to maintain lean body mass and prevent the person talking it from regaining fat. Tonalin or CLA — and its health benefits — has received mainstream attention, most notably from publications such as "Fitness" magazine, "Men'sHealth" magazine and "Reader's Digest."
Dosage and Availability
The recommended Tonalin CLA dose is 3 grams — or three or four capsules — per day for optimal effectiveness. According to the Tonalin website, that dosage equals 4 gallons of ice cream or whole milk, or 7 pounds of beef per day. Tonalin is meant for use with a healthy diet that includes fruits, natural grains and vegetables, and a regular exercise regimen. At the time of publication, Tonalin is available in 50 brands: from health food or nutritional companies such as Blue Bonnet, Good 'n' Natural and EAS, to grocery and retail store chains such as Target, Wal-Mart and Walgreens.
Side Effects and Skepticism
The Tonalin website does not mention any possible side effects from taking the supplement. However, a 2002 American Heart Association report published in "Circulation" suggests that overweight people who use CLA may develop insulin resistance, which in turn may increase the risk of developing diabetes. Another report — this time, published in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" in 2004 — outright doubts the effectiveness of CLAs altogether. Ultimately, the general consensus regarding CLAs such as Tonalin is that it overweight people taking the supplement should used it under strict supervision.